It is important to examine some of the features of the ideal creative organisation, because a sustainable platform for the incorporation of
We cannot manage creativity: creativity relies on spontaneity, the generation of ideas and the drawing of unrelated lateral connections ”these are all informal and non-linear processes. We can, however, manage the encouragement of creativity and provide an environment that promotes this as one of the organisation s
Imagination cannot simply be ˜installed in an organisation. The vision of being an organisation that values imagination and creativity must come from the highest levels and be
Organisational culture is a key factor in determining if imagination will be encouraged or even allowed. Edgar Schien defines organisational culture as ˜the total of the collective or shared learning of the
The four key
The ability or opportunity to exercise some freedom in our work environment is critical to the creative process. One can imagine an ˜idea sanctuary where there is complete freedom to explore in whichever direction one would like, just like an explorer in search of a new land, not knowing what to expect. These individualistic, uncontrolled, freethinking, blue-sky environments were traditionally associated with universities and some of our research organisations. Much has changed in these institutions over the past
For most of us, however, the option for creativity grows not so much from freedom in what we do, but
we do our work. If we are allowed freedom in the workplace,
Interestingly, although freedom is a core component for generating an imagination-enabling environment, freedom without bounds or direction often results in a loss of sense of purpose and a
The link between freedom, trust and strategy allows people the opportunity and the environment to contribute
Having created an environment that allows for freedom of thought and action, management must provide encouragement for the development and exploration of ideas. A status quo
The generation of ideas demands some process of evaluation and this will require access to appropriate resources such as information, people, funding, time and facilities. There is no point in promoting your organisation as innovative or encouraging staff to be imaginative if there are no mechanisms to assess the ideas that will be generated. Assessment of ideas can take place in a number of ways ”depending on the type of ideas being generated. It can be done by an individual, a committee, or through public presentations, and in competitive or non- competitive forums. What matters is the
It is important that the process of encouraging the generation of ideas be handled appropriately. That is to say, the fact that we create an environment that encourages the development of ideas should be balanced against the fact that not all of the ideas will be acted upon. Management has a responsibility to reject good ideas when they lack strategic fit or the organisation lacks the resources to
Increasing the amount of information available to staff about the business s activities can enhance idea encouragement. The potential is even larger in an organisation such as CSIRO, which possesses a breadth and depth in many discipline and application areas for great idea generation at the boundaries. By sharing information and involvement of staff in cross-team activities new approaches to existing problems may be identified and in some cases whole new areas of research or applications created. Too often, organisations collect and store information that is
Through the use of the information-sharing tools that are now available, we should aim to enhance
Recognition for the development of ideas and creativity is essential. Rewards or salary structures in which employees progress in orderly
As stated earlier, imaginative staff may not be strongly motivated by financial rewards. For some, the reward does not come from any external source but is generated by the admiration that their creativity or ideas
When it comes to the development of innovation, the recognition and reward issue is a complex one. For example, whom do we reward? For some ˜ideas people , the work required to
In some cases it may be worth considering what the ˜best reward actually is. Too often we reward good people by taking them away from the things that give them
Finally, the organisation itself must desire to make imagination and creativity part of the way it works.
This may appear to be a simple statement but it goes to the crux of the issue. The whole organisation, that is, from the Chief Executive through to every member of staff, should have an understanding and a belief that creativity, imagination and innovation are intrinsic to their roles. Organisations rise and fall on the strength of their people. For example, CSIRO is only recognised as a creative, innovative organisation because of the efforts of its people. The more scope there is for people to express their imagination as individuals, the more opportunity there is for our people to be creative in combination, the more innovative the outcomes are as an organisation.
So at all levels, the organisation must express the desire for creativity to be a hallmark of the way it operates. Every process should support the potential for ideas to be hatched, discussed, explored and resolved. As managers, we have the responsibility for
It is now clich d to say, ˜change is the only constant . However, a clear indication of how critical imagination and creativity are to an organisation is how it conducts that change process and expresses its values. CSIRO has not been immune to change. Currently, we are undergoing possibly the most significant changes in the organisation s 78-year history as we move from a research institute to a research enterprise. Fundamental to this change process has been the reiteration our purpose:
By igniting the creative spirit of our people we deliver great science and innovative solutions for industry and the environment.
This statement explicitly recognises the critical role of creativity in enabling CSIRO to achieve its goals. The following supporting statement captures the ideas of freedom, encouragement and recognition, while crystallising the direction of change.
It is not enough to have a great idea, we must have impact, solve problems and make a difference.
In this changing environment we are exploring new ways of enhancing the delivery of our research results. The core values have remained the same but the mode of execution and delivery is changing. Managing this change is a truly creative exercise and has required some innovative approaches to engaging with new mechanisms for the delivery of the results, while at the same time supporting the creative engine of the organisation.
Creative person seeks to work for organisation that understands imagination and how to utilise it.
Organisation should be focused on outcomes as opposed to processes. Organisation needs to be understanding of individuals and not expect
Most importantly, the organisation must deliver constancy of purpose and direction
The organisation will ensure that there aren t any non-examinable rules and that rules can be developed based upon interaction, agreement and need. Management will allow teams to discard old ideas and allow for the possibility that a different set of rules may develop. Management will accept the challenge that different groups may choose different ways of working across an organisation.
Managers will not underestimate what their employees can do and must be willing to offer opportunities for growth.
[ 3] E H Schien, Organisational Culture and Leadership ,Jossey-Bass Inc, San Francisco, 1992.