Innovation and Creativity
The Wall Street Journal has finally caught up with my research and recommendations regarding the process in which good ideas “bubble up” in an organization.
When I conducted the research with approximately 50 C level executives a few years ago, I learned that they all wanted good new creative ideas but that by in large they weren’t getting them and they didn’t have a process in place whereby employees could bring their new ideas to the attention of upper management.
Many of the CEOs I interviewed complained that good ideas were being stifled by their mid-managers, who they believed were threatened by the presumption that their bosses would see them as less competent if one of their staff had a better idea.
Sometime later, when I was giving a speech on this topic, my friend Carolyn Gannon, retired from her executive position at Oracle reminded me that the manager is caught in the middle – having deliverables to deliver and that more than likely that was the reason there was less attention paid to the good ideas that weren’t allowed to “bubble up.”
From the information I learned during the research, I create processes with my clients that enable deliverables to be delivered while at the same time, encouraging and supporting new ideas.
When I think of creativity – I think anywhere in the organization. Creativity is a process. Innovation, on the other hand is the product of creative thinking.
In most cases the new idea cannot merely be implemented on whim but must be vetted, or tested in some way because it no doubt will affect other processes in the organization. Too, many new ideas need a cooperative effort with others to bear fruition and thus they need to have time and resources given to them.
I, and the Wall St. Journal have concluded that there needs to be “specific ways firms can generate ideas and execute new products.” (Managing & Careers, Wall St. Journal, August 29, 2011, by Rachel Emma Sliverman.)