Creativity is the lifeblood of innovation. But it’s also a generic term applied to various business strategies and tactics that leave us with a rather anemic response. We can articulate the target, but the pathway is where many of the problems and obstructions occur.
Providing an environment that is conducive to creativity can help encourage employees to be more innovative. This is not always easy to do in a professional setting—from the office to the hospital. Often, businesses have to balance the need for creativity with the need for efficiency and productivity. And in the case of healthcare, this balance must also include the critical concern for efficacy and safety. In many cases, this can mean that creationists are not able to be as creative as they would like, or that they are discouraged from taking risks. Additionally, businesses may find that it is difficult to quantify creativity and innovation, which can make it difficult to reward employees for their ideas.
Some of the features that can enhance, and drive innovation include a challenge environment, freedom to take risks, and an emphasis on learning. Organizations can create these features by offering challenges to their employees, encouraging them to take risks, and providing opportunities for learning. Additionally, businesses can create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
Another feature that can help drive innovation among employees is freedom to take risks. This means allowing employees to explore new ideas without feeling like they will be punished if the idea does not work out. Businesses can encourage this by setting clear goals and expectations and letting their employees know that failure is part of the creative process. Additionally, businesses can provide support and encouragement to employees who take on new challenges, even if those challenges do not result in success.
Overall, encouraging creativity and innovation among employees is an important part of driving innovation. By providing an environment that fosters these qualities, offering training and development programs, and rewarding employees for their ideas, businesses can help their workers to be more creative and innovative in their work. In turn, this can lead to greater productivity and growth for the organization as a whole. But this still leaves me uninspired, and even a bit confused. The language feels good, like the wind blowing in my hair as I drive my “innovation convertible” to Oz. But the road map is still missing.
For me, creativity and the path to innovation is less about the banter of certain features—they are ALL important! But it’s the recognition of this constellation of attributes that are fostered and combined in a unique combination that really makes a significant difference. And in the battle for healthcare innovation, Google needs structure, Pharma needs creativity and Amazon need clinical science. It when these components are combined in the correct proportions that the magic happens! So, let’s look at my top 10 list of essential ingredients as the beginning for a successful recipe. And please note that our innovation path is part of the comprehensive marketing perspective that informs and supports the process.
- Creativity. The secret sauce to innovation that often defines the process.
- Clinical / Science Savvy. The core aspects of science and medicine that come to life in the laboratory and clinical office.
- User perspective. The powerful end-user that most commonly benefits most from the innovation.
- Technology. No longer the domain of the engineer or geek, it’s something that can provide fresh insights into solving a problem.
- Structure. Freedom to fail is a key component, but some aspect of structure (different for every company) can be the guiding hand of innovator to help shape and mold the process.
- Autonomy. Conversely to structure, the team must have a sense of freedom to find new paths and question convention.
- Purpose. The spark of innovation is defined by the value placed around the efforts. They can be less a task and more a cathedral of innovation to help change the world.
- Speed. Set goals and push to get things done.
- Diversity. Ideas come in all sizes and shapes. Build a team that allows thinking beyond the expected and conventional
- Heritage. You must recognize the values and heritage that defines your company and have that reflected in your work.
Every one of these components is important, even essential. But the proportions—inserted into the business and marketplace realities—will help drive “your” creativity. Generic solutions come from generic methodologies are a bit like garbage in, garbage out. Optimally, the process itself is a first step in driving real, sustainable change.