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Creativity, Innovation 'Teach, Coach, Learn

Coaching, training or learning about creativity and innovation involves mastery of at least 12 domains.
These include:

a) Creativity and Innovation differences and definitions.

Often used interchangeably, they ought to be considered separate and distinct. Creativity can be described as problem identification and idea generation and innovation idea selection, development and commercialisation. Creativity can also be measured according to the number of ideas produced and their diversity and novelty.

b) Creative Types.

Are some people creative and others not? Why is it that some people just seem to be more so? Some theorists argue for creativity traits such as tolerance for ambiguity and intolerance of conformity whilst others counter that traits are hard to identify and not stable or transferable across situations. Further, motivation is more important.

c) Learning versus talent.
Is creativity a talent or can it be learned and developed? How conclusive are nature and nurture arguments and does it improve with experience? What do people who regularly have to produce good ideas have to say?

d) Motivation.

Motivation is arguably more important than traits. How can it be gauged, measured and monitored?

e) Organizational culture.

Some cultures inhibit creativity whilst others foster it? We can all be more creative so what is stopping us?

f) Organizational structure.

What properties of an organisational structure most foster creativity? There are many reasons why an entity has a particular organisational structure: history, logistics, market segmentation, product line, strategy and so forth. It is often unreasonable to ask a firm to change its organisational structure, so how do we get around this problem?

g) Team structure.

Some individuals who have worked alone have made great contributions to society. Yet many argue that smaller teams overcome the limitations of the individual. Still others argue that groups introduce negative such as groupthink and politicking, which gets worse with size. So, what is the most effective group structure for maximizing the frequency and quality of creative output?

h) Knowledge Management.

Coaches and leaders have to understand how to maximize and effectively use networks, collaboration and elicitation of tacit knowledge techniques if they are to benefit from the intellectual cross pollination that is the raw material of the idea generation process.

i) Radial versus Incremental leaps.

Everybody seems to want to make radical leaps, which has led to a distortion of the value of incremental movement. It is an understanding of incremental movement that is the most sure fire way to radical movement. Large movements most often result from small changes.

j) Structure and Goals.

Are structure and goals inhibitive or do they increase creative output? Research from people who continually output material (screenwriters, comedians, musicians) argue that structure is vital.

k) Process.

Is there a process that makes insight (also known as aha or eureka) more likely? It seems that there are triggers and processes that can be used to get the mind working on problems at various cognitive levels.
l) Valuation.
The first stage of innovation is idea selection. How do we make the go or kill decision between ideas?

These topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com. You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.

Kal Bishop, MBA

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About the Author: You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained. Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com.


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