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A Forbes Study Finds Diversity & Inclusion are Good for Creativity and Innovation

For Two Bits Tuesday:  B A L A N C E

Image by EraPhernalia Vintage . . . (playin' hooky ;o) via Flickr

Chances are if you work for a large organization, your company has a diversity and inclusion policy. Organizations around the world are realizing diversity in the workplace is good for business. In fact, a July 2011 Forbes study found, a “diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas. When asked about the relationship between diversity and innovation, a majority of respondents agreed that diversity is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.” While a diverse workforce fosters creativity and innovation, I believe how companies define diversity should be broadened.

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The Global Innovation Index 2011 is Out

Coat of Arms of Switzerland.

Image via Wikipedia

Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore lead The Global Innovation Index 2011 as #’s 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Interested in seeing how the 125 countries stack up? Read more. Beware, the report is a beefy 381 pages.

While I haven’t read the entire report cover to cover, I have made it as far as the framework. Here is a synopsis of the measures The Global Innovation Index used to rate each of the countries. Each of the pillars below capture elements of the country’s economy that enable innovation.

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A Creative Way to Get People to Read in the Park

Post Office Square in the Financial District, ...

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Just the other day I stepped out to get a breath of fresh air at the Norman B. Leventhal Park (also known as the park at Post Office Square). What I love about this park is how they cater to park goers. The grounds, though small, are pristine. There are flowers everywhere, the lawn is manicured, the food carts are tasteful (as well as tasty), and they even put out waterproof mats that you can borrow to sit on the grass. How lovely of the park to think about all the folks out at lunch who might not want to sully their work clothes.

In the middle of a crazy day, the park is a respite for the mind and soul. Now, the park is intellect-friendly too. As I looked around the park during my last visit, I noticed Read more of this post

Letting Kids Win at Games Builds Creative Thinking Muscles

View of a game of Strange Synergy, a card and ...

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My 5-year old loves playing board games. He also loves creating his own rules and ways of playing which drives my 7-year old crazy because he views this as “cheating.” Recently, rather than playing board games or card games with both kids at the same time, I’ve been playing with each child individually. This gives my 5-year old time to stretch his creative thinking muscles and my 7-year old a chance to enjoy an age appropriate playing environment.

In separating play time between the two boys, I’ve gained some insights. My oldest son tends to be more literal, by-the-book, and logical. To him, it doesn’t make sense to create your own rules. He sees right and wrong…and there are never any gray lines. My older son loves building things, math, science, IT class and sports. On the other hand, my younger son tends to be more imaginative. He enjoys divergent thinking. With him, there’s always lots of gray. My younger son seems to be drawn to coming up with ideas, inventing things, creative story telling and art.

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Workplace Friendships Improve Innovation Success

people are the funniest people

Image by badjonni via Flickr

Have you ever taken a workplace survey that asked about your friendships at work? If you took a Gallup survey, the question asked you to rate the statement “I have a best friend at work.” In looking at the dimensions that promote employee retention, customer metrics, productivity, and profitability, Gallup found the friendship question consistently correlated with all four dimensions. In fact, employees who had best friends at work were:

CIO’s Urged to Think Outside the Box

Server room in CERN (Switzerland)

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If you think the need for innovation hasn’t touched every corner of the workplace, think again. According to Network World, IT personnel who have their sights on becoming CIO’s need to think out of the box.

With the complexity of issues facing CIO’s, it is no wonder creative and innovative attitudes are required to get the job done. Issues like globalization, the need for acceleration, more and more data, a push to digitize, increasing proliferation of personal devices in the workplace, and having to do more with less budget, requires a great deal of out of the box thinking.

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Hospitals Turn to Creativity and Innovation to Deliver Better Care

A doctor from the United States uses a stethos...

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Though it may be counter to how many people view productivity, in order to improve patient safety while being squeezed by health care reform, Bassett Healthcare Network is giving leaders and staff paid sabbatical days. Wouldn’t it be great if all workplaces gave employees paid sabbatical days? You’re probably thinking you’d love the time off. But, what does paid time off have to do with delivering better health care? Well, Bassett Healthcare Network recognizes that doing more with less requires creativity and innovation. Sabbatical days allows leaders and staff the time to think up and pursue new ideas.  This time away from the daily grind and pressures of meeting financial performance goals and providing better services paves the way to think differently about the challenges that plague the health care industry.

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Why Creativity and Innovation are Scary

When cats are scared they arch there back and ...

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I’ve been thinking about why it is so difficult to shift a corporate culture to become more creative and innovative. Though there is lots of talk about creativity and innovation in the workplace, when it actually comes to doing something breakthrough (other than talking) , there’s typically resistance.

As I looked back at the different advertising and marketing campaigns I’ve been a part of over the last half of my life, it was interesting to note how many of the best ideas ended up getting diluted into a shadow of themselves. What starts as a thought provoking, unique idea inevitably turns into the implementation of a “safe, been there, done that” campaign.

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Bringing Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity to a School Near You

Magnifying

Image by Clover_1 via Flickr

Last summer The Creativity Crisis made the cover of Newsweek. The report documented the decline in creativity in U.S.  school children. This leaves American children at a disadvantage when it comes to competing in a global economy. With social, economic, and political challenges getting ever more complex, creative leadership is rising in importance. In fact, a study of 1500 chief executives identified creativity as the most important competency for the future. If creativity is that important, shouldn’t it be taught in schools? Though embracing creativity within schools is slow going, I am hopeful change is coming soon. On June 10, 2011,

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Ideas are a Result of Genetics and Experiences

Whitman Giant Tell-A-Tale edition, 1963

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The other day I saw my 7-year old son’s homework strewn about on the kitchen table and asked if he needed help. He replied, “It’s not due til Friday. I don’t need to start it yet.”

I though, ‘Ah, the makings of a procrastinator.”

After a bit of encouraging, my son decided to do a portion of his homework. The assignment included reading a book, completing a worksheet, and creating a diorama. My son had read the book previously, so he started on the worksheet. To complete the worksheet, my son needed to list the main characters, the title, and then write a few sentences about the beginning, middle, and the ending of the book.

Interestingly, as he began what I considered a language arts assignment, he started asking me about math. My son’s questions included, “What’s 31 divided by 3? Can you show me how to divide? What is a third of 31?”

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