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Management Idea Round Up| Creativity and innovation—the two new buzzwords

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-05-2014 Arundhati Ramanathan

Creativity and innovation are two words doing the rounds of corner rooms in every company. Successful companies such as Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Facebook have used creativity and innovation to create a niche for themselves, so much so that it has become an important factor in the long-term survival of a company.

Creativity centres on idea generation and innovation emphasizes idea implementation, which makes creativity critical for innovation, as long as an employee intentionally introduces and applies a new idea, method, or practice that results in innovation engagement, researchers from the UK’s Brunel University, University of Edinburgh and Rice University in the US, said in a recent study in the Journal of Management.

The nature of the job plays a big role in the extent of creative thinking that can be developed in companies, believe the researchers. Complex jobs that provide opportunities, use a variety of skills, have significant impact, and provide autonomy and feedback, are key to high levels of creativity.

In contrast, routine jobs which do not require much intention and awareness may result in employees losing interest in coming up with new ideas, note the researchers. It also helps to have creativity goals for employees to reach, they say in the study.

Cultures also play a role. The researchers while reviewing studies in this area point out that among Eastern countries, organizational control fosters motivation, whereas for those in the West, the same organizational control acts as an inhibitor.

The researchers say that much of creativity is also tied to the workplace environment.

An organization, in order to foster creativity, must provide the resources for it, namely the finances, time availability and managerial practices like challenging work and supervisory encouragement.

However, a recently published Handbook of Organizational and Entrepreneurial Ingenuity says constraints create ingenious ideas, citing the example of engineers in an aeronautical firm who were faced with the problem of ice formation on the tip of the nose of the jet engine. The ice fragments crashed on the engine, damaging it. Working under cost constraints, instead of going with a change in design, the engineers simply proposed a rubber tip for the nose preventing ice formation.

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