Factors to Unlock Creativity

Lateral Thinking
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Eugene James
Manager, Switzerland

Factors to Unlock Creativity

To unlock creativity, senior managers should provide staff freedom of action. According to Chris Baréz-Brown (2015), SIMPLICITY is a key principle in this endeavor. Thus, eliminate unnecessary procedures that suffocate staff initiative, and provide flexibility to approach problems and daily activities in new ways. This is crucial as businesses get increasingly complex, due to new technologies which require constant adaptation.
Baréz-Braz suggests key practices to foster simplicity and creativity:
  1. CUTTING DISTRACTIONS: Cut all distractions when carrying out tasks. Typically, one tries to multi-task. However this is detrimental to being truly effective. One company owner introduced an initiative to ban email use in the morning in view of encouraging greater focus.
  2. TRUST GUT AND FEEL: Allow intuition to guide simple and incremental innovation. People on the front line are better placed than senior managers to spot areas that can be improved. In the process of carrying out regular tasks, staff can spot inefficient practices. In effect they can take corrective measures, bringing major savings.
  3. PRACTICALITY: Be pragmatic when venturing on new grounds. It seems attractive to collect mounds of data to design the "perfect" product or service. However abstraction rarely yields any real insights into what works best. Instead, first hand experience generates far more insight. Close interaction in real world scenarios opens space for dialogue and greater understanding. For instance the founders of Airbnb went on-site to homes that would later feature on their portal. This enabled a much stronger grasp of customer needs.
  4. ENCOURAGE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Staff must be given chances to flourish, rather than being overly controlled. Managers can do so by creating the right environment. For example they can promote continuous learning rather than pinning down specific targets frozen in time. Accenture for instance abolished appraisals.
Source: Chris Baréz-Brown, "Simplicity is the key to creativity", The Guardian

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands
 

Unlocking Creativity

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