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  • Nigel Nolan

Where do I start? How do I go about introducing creativity and innovation into my organisation?

Plan to Introduce Innovation Properly

This is a question facing many managers, whether they want to introduce creativity and innovation into their organisation as a whole or just their section or department. For many, the task seems daunting – but it doesn’t need to be. Here are four considerations to get you started.

The primary consideration is senior management support for the initiative, whether that be the senior management of a company or organisation, or the senior management of a section or department. Senior management should already be convinced of the need for creativity and innovation, not just to move forward and prosper, but for actual survival. [If they are not already convinced, have them read the article above on “The need for creativity and innovation”]. Senior management must be made aware that an innovation initiative will require not just their explicit support, but some of their time and commitment as well.

The second consideration is to gather a few like-minded individuals to form a creativity committee or innovation committee or creativity and innovation committee – come up with your own name for the group who will steer the initiative forward. Don’t just pick a few fellow managers who might be interested, but let the entire workforce know and let those who have a particular interest in (and perhaps some experience of) creativity and innovation be involved at this level. After all, those who will be most affected by any innovation initiative are those who work at the “coalface” and on the “frontline”.

The third consideration is knowledge and know-how – get some training in the area for the new ‘committee’. There are two areas of training required. The first is to understand the ‘context’ that creativity and innovation has to fit into – the organisation’s or company’s environment. Certain factors in the organisational environment will either enable or hinder creativity and innovation, and those steering the initiative must understand and identify these factors, assess them and develop action plans to deal with them. Our workshop on ‘Fostering Creativity and Innovation’ will help you do this (excuse the blatant plug for our workshop, but it is unique in Singapore!).

The other area is to receive some training in a creativity and innovation process – usually called ‘creative problem solving’ – that includes a number of techniques for each part of the process. These techniques and the overall process teach participants how to think creatively – how to think ‘out of the box’. Ideally everyone in the company or organisation should receive this type of training, especially if you want to have continuous improvement, but the steering committee at least should have it. Opps! – here comes another blatant plug, but our workshops on ‘Creative Thinking and the Creative Problem Solving & Innovation Process’ provide either an introduction to the topic or a full process immersion into it.

The fourth consideration then is to task the steering committee (the innovation committee or whatever name you chose for it) with developing the plan to introduce creativity and innovation across the company or organisation, or that part of it that you are responsible for. The members of this committee, if they have received appropriate training, will have all the information they need to assess the organisation and plan the introduction of new ways of thinking and doing – the introduction of a creativity and innovation initiative.

No matter what barriers to creativity and innovation currently exist in a company or organisation, the creativity and innovation initiative can still move forward – no single obstacle or group of obstacles can stop it, because the appropriately trained steering committee has all the tools it needs to overcome or get around them.

So just go for it!

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