Everybody can contribute to the creative process.
All functions within any successful business need to be innovative, but it is only R&D where this is paramount. R&D is the engine room for creativity and innovation within the company and this is its sole reason for existing. Consequently, if the right conditions for encouraging and exploiting creativity and innovation are not in place then the whole exercise will eventually be doomed to failure. Thus an understanding of the creative environment in which the competencies of the company are developed and exploited for its commercial well being is an essential for all managers having a technological role within an organisation.
For many years creativity and innovation was achieved in a rather ad hoc manner, only engaging those parts of the organisation as they were required, often in a linear way as this was seen as a logical progression. The more successful companies realised that this was inefficient. Blocks in the innovation pathway were only cleared as they appeared and often this lead to a resistance to change, particularly from those not involved from the start in the process of innovation.
Total Quality Management (TQM, see Section B, 3.4) is used by most companies to develop systems which can deal with the organisational problems related to the performance of the company, but this is inadequate when dealing with the generation of new and unusual ideas which need to be commercialised as rapidly as possible. A parallel activity is required on creativity. DuPont became the leading light in this area devising what is known as Total Creativity Management (TCM) [C-2]. This originated within the R&D functions but was so successful that they set up a Centre for Creativity and Innovation covering the whole company. The thinking behind this was that, unlike proprietary "hard" technology only available to the expert practitioner, creative thinking was a "soft" technology and hence could be shared between non-
experts; everybody could contribute to the process, often in a challenging and unusual way.
TCM requires attention to six dimensions in the field of creative thinking. These six dimensions, illustrated in Figure C1, involve the following:
1. Learning and applying creative thinking techniques that provide new ideas that seed creative thinking.
2. Capitalising on the value of diversity in thinking preferences and styles in building successful teams and task forces.
3. Engaging the organisation so that people will surface who have a clear idea of the values and of the initiative and want to take part.
4. Setting up structures and systems to sustain momentum in the initiative.
5. Recognising and rewarding emerging champions and supports.
6. Taking the best ideas to market, applying key components ofthe innovative process.
It is possible to draw up a matrix of the main factors that stimulate creativity and innovation [C-1]. Those factors affecting creativity centre on the individual and the environment whilst those influencing innovation are more concerned with teamwork and organisation. There is a strong overlap in many areas, represented by the top right hand box in Figure C2. The themes of this section will cover many of these factors, whilst others will be covered in the other sections.
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