The Importance of Creativity for Organizations:
Nowadays creativity and innovation are becoming extremely important to the success of all business organizations; because they are facing major and rapid changes in the environment. To cope effectively with the change, organizations must become more innovative, developing the ability to quickly plan and implement adoptions to change their environments.
There is a direct link between creativity and important organizational outcomes such as productivity and quality; because creative thinking increases the quality of solutions to organizational problems, helps to stimulate profitable innovations, revitalizes motivation, upgrades personal skills and catalyzes effective team performance. Therefore organizations must motivate creative thinking because it is obvious that the success of businesses in the rapidly changing future will be determined by their ability to become more creative.
Definition of Creativity:
Creativity is the generation of novel, useful, and predictable ideas that may meet perceived needs or respond to opportunities for the organization. In other words; creativity is seeing analogies where no one else sees them. Actually creativity is the essential first step in innovation, which is vital to long term organizational success.
The Creative Process:
Creativity is a complex process and it is really a part of most non-programmed decisions. Creativity is not something which can be saved for special occasions. On the other hand there are unique features for the creativity. The creative process is used to find problems, identify alternatives and implement solutions. The creative process has 5 basic steps:
a)Preparation: Creativity is not a passive activity; therefore the first step requires a thorough investigation to ensure that all parts of a problem are understood fully. During the preparation stage the employee gather the necessary information and concentrate on the problem or issue.
b)Concentration: In his step, personal or organizational energies and resources are focused on solving the problem, and a commitment is made to find and implement a solution.
c)Incubation: This is the stage of reflective thought. The employee put the problem aside (sometimes out of frustration), but the employee’s mind is still working on it unconsciously. This stage is usually aided by working (or playing) on an unrelated object or event.
d)Insight (Illumination): At some point during the incubation stage, we become aware of a unique idea. There flashes of inspiration are fleeting and can be lost quickly if not documented. In other words, creative thoughts do not keep a particular schedule. They might come to you at any time of day or night.
e)Verification: Insights are merely rough ideas. Their usefulness still requires verification through conscious evaluation and experimentation. Therefore the last step involves testing the solution or ideas. The creator seeks corroboration and acceptance of the new approach.
This process can lead to various types of creativity.
;#61607;Innovation or an original approach to approach to a problem: Innovation involves seeing the obvious before anyone else does.
;#61607;Extension; which involves expanding an idea to another application.
;#61607;Duplication; or the copying of good ideas from others; which is the simplest form of creative thought.
Types of Creative People:
The type of creative people also differs like the types of creativity. There are two types of creative people;
According to Michael Kirton there are two styles of creativity; adaptors and innovators. Both are creative but in different ways. Adaptors; try to figure out how things can be improved. They tend to feel comfortable working with existing boundaries and systems to push for changes that will make systems better. They change cautiously and in small steps. Innovators; on the other hand, are more likely to challenge the existing system and the accepted ways of doing things. They are catalysts for new ideas, often discovering new problems and novel solutions. Innovators challenge rules and break customs.
Businesses need both types of people. They need innovators to shake things up and break from established approaches; they also need adaptors to bring stability and order to the confusion that the innovators can create. Innovators give you the outrageous twists that can be truly ground breaking. Adaptors have the political senility to take these twists and turn them into acceptable ideas that can actually be implemented.
The Characteristics of Highly Creative People and Organizations:
Although everyone has the capacity to be creative; there are remarkable characteristics of highly creative people. Creative people often are known for originality, open-mindedness, curiosity, a focused approach to problem solving, persistence a relaxed and playful attitude and receptivity to new ideas.
The Creative IndividualThe Creative Organization or Department
Open-mindednessOpen Channels of communication
Contact with outside sources
Suggestions systems; brainstorming; group techniques.
2OriginalityAssigning non-specialists to problems
Hiring people who make you uncomfortable
Self-ConfidenceDecentralization, loosely defined positions, loose control.
Acceptance of mistakes.
People encouraged to defy their bosses.
CuriosityFreedom to choose and pursue problems.
Not a tight ship, playful culture, doing the impractical.
Freedom to discuss ideas, long time horizon.
Focused ApproachResources allocated to creative personnel and projects without immediate pay off.
Reward system encourages innovation.
Absolution of peripheral responsibilities
Conditions for Creativity:
Creativity is a function of both the person and the situation, therefore conditions for creativity is also important. Some people are inherently more creative than others. Research indicates that creative people strong artistic and intellectual values, tolerance of ambiguity, need for achievement, and self-confidence. They have ability to disregard passed experience and, instead to look at problems in many different ways. People can be creative throughout their lives, although the highest level of activity tends to occur between the ages of 30 and 40.
People also tend to be more creative when they are new to a particular work environment; because new comers question to learn and to get used the environment.
Creative Work Environments:
While hiring creative people, organizations need to provide jobs and work environments that foster creativity. Creativity flourishes when employees are given freedom deciding how to accomplish tasks and solve problems. In other words; they should have sufficient autonomy for empowerment.
On the other hand; although should have freedom in the work process, the creative productivity is higher when people engage in self-set creativity goals, feedback, and other elements of self-leader ship. Notice that self-set goals are not the same as having executives establish tight deadlines, time pressures, and performance bonuses. External pressures tend to stifle creativity because employees focus on known rather than divergent solution to their work.
Supportive leadership is another critical feature for creativity and innovation. Supervisors, team leaders and others should encourage risk taking by ensuring that employees would not be punished for behaving or thinking differently. They should reinforce the notion that errors are part of learning process.
Cross-pollination of ideas is another key ingredient for creativity. One strategy is to have employees work on divergent projects, rather than focus on their career in one product or service area. Cross pollination also occurs when people with diverse skills and knowledge throughout the organization interact and share information with each other.
Some People are naturally more creative than others, but creativity can also be learned to some extent. Creativity training programs help participants in three ways:
Creativity training programs makes people aware that existing mental models stifle their creativity. They learn that a seemingly illogical idea may be a very good solution to a problem, but it does not fit the employee’s mental model. This awareness encourages employees to question their logic and open their mind to divergent thinking.
Second, creativity training programs encourage participants to spend more time understanding the problem or opportunity and, in particular, redefining it in unique ways.
A third function of creativity training is to teach employees various divergent thinking strategies:
Divergent Thinking Strategies: There are several ways to improve divergent thinking strategies. Some programs teach employees how to incubate problems by playing with toys, shooting pool, or engaging in other distractions. Similarly some firms send their employees to special sessions where they perform free-thinking tasks quite different from their familiar work.
A more structured divergent thinking activity is called morphological analysis. Morphology involves listing different dimensions of a system and the elements of each dimension, then looking at each combination. This encourages people to carefully examine combinations that initially seem nonsensical.
A third divergent thinking strategy is to use metaphors to compare the situation with something else. By the help of this method employees see and think with a different light.
Promoting Creativity in Organizations:
There are five alternative techniques to promote creativity in organizations; constructive controversy, brainstorming, electronic brainstorming, Delphi Technique, and nominal group technique.
Constructive Controversy is any situation in which team members debate their different opinions regarding a problem or issue in a way that minimizes socioemotional conflict. There are some circumstances to generate constructive controversy:
Decision making groups should be heterogeneous.
These heterogeneous team members need to meet often enough to allow meaningful discussion over contentious issues.
Individual members take on different discussion roles.
Decision must be viewed from several angles.
Brainstorming; In the 1950’s advertising executive Alex Osborn wanted to find a better way for teams to generate creative ideas. Osborn’s solution, called brainstorming, requires team members to abide by four rules that encourage divergent thinking and minimize evaluation apprehension:
1.No Criticism; The most important rule in brainstorming is that no one should criticize any ideas that are presented. Without criticism, team members might be more willing to suggest crazy solutions to problem, which results in a larger number and potentially better ideas.
2.Encourage freewheeling; Wild and strange ideas are welcomed because these become the seeds of divergent thinking in the creative process.
3.Piggyback ideas; Team members are encouraged to combine and improve on the ideas already presented because this strengthens the synergy of team processes.
4.Encourage many ideas; Brainstorming is based on the idea that quality increases with the number of ideas presented. This relates to the notion that divergent thinking occurs after traditional ideas have been exhausted. Therefore the group should think of as many possible solutions as possible and go well beyond the traditional solutions to a problem.
Brainstorming is widely used in many companies. In spite of its popularity, however brainstorming has several limitations. One problem is that brainstorming rules do not completely remove evaluation apprehension because employees still know that others are silently evaluating the quality of their ideas. Production blocking and related time constraints prevent all ideas from being presented. In fact, individuals working alone usually produce more potential solutions to a problem than if they work together using the brainstorming method.
On the other hand, brainstorming rules seem to minimize negative conflict among members and improve the team’s focus on the required task. Brainstorming participants also interact and participate directly, thereby increasing decision acceptance and team cohesiveness. Although evaluation apprehension is still a concern, mature groups may overcome this problem and leverage the subtle benefits of face to face communication. To share feelings of optimism and d excitement can encourage a more creative climate.
Electronic Brainstorming; is a structured team decision making process whereby several people individually generate ideas or make decisions through computer software that post each participant’s ideas or opinions anonymously.
It reduces the problem of production blocking.
It supports creative synergy because participants can easily develop new ideas from those generated by other people.
It minimizes the problem of evaluation apprehension.
It reduces the time spent.
It is too structured and technology bond for most people therefore it seems odd to employees.
It has higher costs than normal brainstorming.
Fewer participants included in electronic brainstorming.
Delphi Technique; is a structured team decision making process of systematically pooling the collective knowledge of experts on a particular subject to make decisions predict the future or identify opposing views.
Delphi groups do not meet face-to-face, participants are often located in different parts of the world and may not know each others identity moreover participants do not know who owns the ideas submitted.
Nominal Group Technique; is a structured team decision making process whereby members independently write down ideas, describe and clarify them to the group. And then independently rank or vote on them.
Nominal group technique is a variation of traditional brainstorming and Delphi technique that tries to combine individual efficiencies with team dynamics.
Creativity on the field: A study about creativity in workplace
Senior employees tend to be bounded to their organizations thus their results regarding the company will be biased.
Green employees and newcomers tend to criticize more about both mgt.& organization.
Depts. would differ in results naturally, because the composition of employees differs.
Innovator style employees and adaptor style employees’ results will differ.
Gender is a factor that effects the evaluation.
The study is carried out using a survey;questionnaire that is used to determine; first the individuals creativity status (adaptor or innovator style), then his/her view of the organization’s policies and procedures regarding creativity issues.
The first ten questions are tending to measure the creativity style whereas the remainder forty is measuring the organization&management’s manner towards creativity. These questions are grouped 12 main categories which evaluates both positive and negative manner of the organization. And also demographic and departmental data is provided.
Notes about the structure of the survey; the survey has a special way of treating and evaluating; has subparts that are Ac;#305;kfikirlilik, Sezgisel Yakla;#351;;#305;m, E;#351;itlik, Geli;#351;tirici, Cesaretlendirici, Ac;#305;klay;#305;c;#305;l;#305;k that evaluates the positive side which adds up to form ;#304;DEAL PUAN; and Kritik, Azarlama, F;#305;rsatc;#305;l;#305;k, Tekilcilik, Egoistlik, Dogmatik that evaluates the negative side of the company finally adds up to form the KAPALI PUAN.
This points; ;#304;DEAL and KAPALI give an idea about overall performance about creativity issues on the employees’ p.o.v.
This survey is printed on two sheets of paper which are handed out in HQ of one of the commercial banks’ departments of Organizasyon ve ;#304;;#351; Geli;#351;tirme, Bireysel Krediler, Call-Center, Mimarl;#305;k ve Emlak, Muhasebe.
The surveys are handed out to 62 employees and asked to fill in freely then the questionnaires are collected.
The hypotheses are tested in SPSS using the mean differences of the populations mentioned in hypothesis, the results are provided in charts as follows;
First analysis is inner-consistency about the survey which correlates the ;#304;deal puan and Kapal;#305; puan with corresponding subgroups, and also tries to relate the ;#304;deal;Kapal;#305; puan to each other.