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» Creativity in Business

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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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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Creativity for a Cause: Nothing Can End Hunger

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An informal promise my cohort made when we began studying creativity was to always use creativity for good. As such, whenever I see interesting ways to tap into creativity for a cause, I take notice.

The other day I came across an interesting campaign for the Rhode Island Food Bank. The campaign moved me – I loved the creative problem solving that went into getting people to think about and take action on hunger. Unlike much of the cause marketing that we’re surrounded by, this campaign tugged at my heart strings without clubbing me over the head with gripping images of hunger. There was something both intellectually and emotionally appealing. Take a look for yourself…

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Leveraging Creative Leadership to Change the Situation

Various types of chocolate.

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When our prehistoric ancestors sensed change they saw two options – fight or flight.  For those of us who tap into creativity, there’s a third alternative. Namely, to use our natural creative abilities to modify the situation. Even the youngest among us know how to tap into creative thinking to alter outcomes. My 5-year old son is a master at changing the situation – especially when it comes to getting chocolate. He clasps his hands together, puts on a really cute face, and says, “pleeeease.”

In my family we refer to this as “begging face.” It works so well that when my older son wants something, he convinces his younger brother to “do” begging face.

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Testing, Learning and Curiosity

Rocco the beaver in studio

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There’s a lot of talk in the business world about the importance of testing and learning. When it comes to web site design, we typically create prototypes to help clients understand user flows, graphical elements, and user interactions. Many times, we take these prototypes out to end users to test and get feedback. This aspect of testing and learning helps to uncover opportunities, understand what is/isn’t working, confirm hypotheses, and find ways of improving outcomes. Though this example was couched in a business context, we all have the innate ability for testing and learning. In fact, testing and learning begins as infants.

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Fostering Creativity in the Workplace

a peek at the inside of tulips

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Fostering a creative environment in the workplace is like nurturing a garden.

Though I’ve had tulips in my garden for the past 6 years, this Spring marks only the second year my tulips have bloomed. Each year as the green leaves of my tulips appear, I eagerly anticipate the colorful blossoms. Unfortunately for the first 4 years, all I saw was a garden of green stems sitting atop the leaves. In talking to one of my neighbors, she asked if I let the tulips die back. Being a novice gardener I replied, “Once I see the greens starting to wilt, I cut down the plant.” As it turns out, tulip bulbs reabsorb the energy from the dying plant. Rather than cutting down the plants, I learned I should let them die back naturally. Just like gardening, creativity in the workplace needs care and feeding.

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Self-Coach Yourself to Creativity

Small decorative apple

Image by Alexandre Dulaunoy via Flickr

Emotions play a big role in creativity. Keeping a positive mindset helps to unlock creative energies. While some tension always exists with creative endeavors, too much stress becomes unproductive. Understanding why you are feeling stressed is the first step to self-coaching yourself to creativity.

There are times in my life where  I’ve felt a great deal of tension (and not the productive kind). To dig into why I was feeling stressed, I stepped up my curiosity. I began asking myself what I want that I do not currently have. As renowned coaches Janeen Whalen and Newell Eaton taught me, coaching puts a “container” around the chaos in order to help process what is happening.

What I soon realized was that my values were not being honored to the degree I wished them to be. Values are each of our “imprints” on the world. The more congruent our values are with the situation we are in, the more energy we have. When we lose energy, it is typically because we are operating outside of our values.

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3 Truths About Innovative Companies

Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his creati...

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It seems talk of innovation is everywhere. In the news, in world events, in boardrooms around the globe. Innovation may just be the buzzword of this generation. With all the talk of innovation, why are so many companies struggling to become more innovative? I believe creativity, vital to innovation, has been overlooked. I created this SlideShare presentation, titled “3 Truths About Innovative Companies” to explore the topic of creativity in business. In this module, you’ll learn:

  • How to become a more creative organization
  • How to get more creativity in less time
  • How to create a climate for creativity