MBA Research Project
Creativity Fundamental Core Concepts
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) research project (including powerpoint presentation, notes and DIY Audit) that formulates a framework for managing creativity and innovation through active research of 22% of the largest advertising agencies in London and critical evaluation of more than 120 sources of literature. These tools are invaluable for the creative person, the manager of creative people, the leader of a thinktank, the manager who wishes to inspire motivation and enhance productivity, the manager of human capital, any entity wishing to establish and reap the benefits of an entrepreneurial culture and anyone wishing to improve tangible creative output. Tools are primarily created for the creative corporate strategy decision maker, but the concepts are universal and touch on all spheres of life.
Creativity and Innovation are often taught using airy-fairy, intangible, ungrounded, unscientific, unuseable, undefined, mysterious terminology and theories. To get a handle on it you need to talk in real, tangible, useable, measureable concepts.
There are twelve major themes that are common in all fields of creativity. Once you have reviewed the arguments and conclusions around each theme, you will have a unique insight that allows you to effectively use creativity, practice creativity, measure creativity, debate creativity, initiate the optimal organisational structure and group structures, understand and avoid blocks, inspire motivation, increase productivity, follow innovation through to commercialisation, benchmark ideas, develop tools for idea measurement and much more... .
Defines the process that induces the creative state and is itself a cause of it; this process generates great ideas and makes insight / eureka / the aha! experience much more likely.
Explains how incremental productivity can lead to being prolific, which draws out tacit knowledge, improves quality and results in the consistent stream of ideas necessary to develop lists of ideas for decision making and for long term projects such as film scripts and novels.
Creativity & Innovation
What are the definitions of and differences between creativity and innovation? There is much confusion, for instance, Franklin (2003) writes that "innovation is anything that somebody thinks is a great idea." The confusion is one (of the many) cause of blocks - people often wait for the big idea, attempt to be original, intelligent and so forth. Innovation requires idea selection, which often means that outside decision makers have to get involved, as complete development and commercialisation commonly requires the competencies and knowledge of a team.
|Common characteristics of creative people||
Do creative people have common characteristics that we can identify, so that we can hire the right people? Some firms do not engage in creative activities because of a belief that "special" people are needed. Many theorists and practitioners think that there are common characteristics, such as tolerance to ambiguity and risk taking. However, many others argue that there are none ("For sixteen years I have been trying to find some common denominator which seems to apply to all creative people. There aren't any. If I could find five or six characteristics I might be more successful at hiring them. I could make a list of curiosity, vocabulary, good visual imagery etc and then I could interview hundreds of people and hire the best. But I don't know of any common characteristic. We've got fifty copywriters and I suppose the good ones are judged at the end of the year, when we compare how many successful campaigns they have created"). Theories of creativity as a cognitive process etc tend to reinforce the latter view.
|Learning versus talent||
Can creativity be learned and developed or is it a talent / special gift? Why is it that some people just are more creative? Nature nurture arguments are notoriously inconclusive and trait theories assume stability across situations and time. The best way to answer this question is to investigate whether creativity improves with practice. The experience curve, automisation, learning theories and the experiences of practitioners suggest that it does improve but there are caveats.
Motivation is arguably more important than nature / nurture or traits. Someone with natural ability or placed in the right environment may not take advantage of it unless motivated. There is intrinsic motivation, synergistic and non-synergistic extrinsic motivation. How can it be induced and measured? There are many elements: material reward, progress to the ideal self, self-determination, self-evaluation, feedback, enjoyment, competency expansion, recognition and feasibility.
|Blocks to creativity||
What are the blocks to creativity and how can they be overcome? We can all be more creative, so what is stopping us? There are many blocks but most result from some form of evaluation apprehension. Lack of adequate finance and resources is another big one. People need an environment of psychological safety and freedom, to separate creative from critical thinking and an understanding of social psychology in order to manage the root cause of many of the problems: human interactions.
There are many reasons why an entity has a particular organisational structure: history, logistics, market segmentation, product line, strategy and so forth. It is unreasonable to ask a firm to change its organisational structure. There are hierarchical, flat and matrix organisations, organic and mechanistic ones and more. Even flat organisations can be very hierarchical (they are often flat in name only). Hierarchy is often associated with bureaucracy, which obviously kills creativity, but there is some very interesting data that notes the benefits of hierarchy. Generally what is required are direct links to decision makers, progress of ideas, recognition and appropriate communication flows.
What is the most effective group structure? Many people who are acknowledged to have made great contributions to society have worked alone, but it is very easy for individuals to go "off track" and feedback is required to some degree, as well as other things. It is also very difficult to separate the idea from its influences. Many others work in pairs or small teams, as this reduces the negative effects of large groups. Successful firms generally start off as very small, creative enterprises. Many people think that brainstorming in large groups enhances creativity, but large groups bring with them politics, status differentials, group think, dilution of ideas and conformity among other things.
|The role of knowledge||
What type and level of knowledge helps creativity most? Can someone with limited knowledge of a field make a significant contribution to it? Does excess knowledge cause blinkered vision? A wide variety of knowledge and experience is helpful - intellectual cross-pollination fosters creativity. A wide variety of knowledge can be gained through collaboration and networking, which overcomes competency traps and other negatives.
|Radical versus incremental creativity||
Radical / transformational / disruptive creativity is very much glamorised. But is this what is required most often? Is radical really radical or the result of incremental improvement? How is radical defined? If we want a radical idea as opposed to an incremental change, what are the implications? Incremental and radical creativity require vastly different structures, processes, skills and resources.
|Structure & goals||
Many creative people object to structure and goals - they argue they interfere with thought processes and originality; there is a very fine line between structure and conformity. But structure and goals help set the boundaries of a problem and produce more output that when an individual is simply allowed to "do their best." How many people have a half finished novel or screenplay in their office?
It seems somehow weird that creativity can be a process. Ask many practitioners what process they engage in and they may well deny there is one. But if you examine the activities of many creative people, common patterns of behaviour emerge. This common process makes insight / eureka / the aha! experience more likely. The process includes identifying and intensely investigating the problem, forcing production of ideas using creative versus critical thinking and other techniques; seeking stimuli and allowing the unconscious mind to take over by engaging in rest and unrelated activities.
How do we value an idea, so as to decide how to invest resources? Even a painter who creates for pure pleasure has to decide which one of his ideas is best; there is always a value system and (some argue) always some sort of promotional instinct. There are decisions as to whether you are looking for applied creativity and who the consumer is; how do they benefit? There is no sure fire way to evaluate perfectly because there is no sure fire route to commercial success. But we can benchmark against those types of ideas that have succeeded in the past; firms must make a decision as to their strategic, competence and technical fit; there are comparisons against rivals and practical impediments; how do we make the go or kill decision and what are the trade-offs? A quantitative tool for measuring the value of ideas has been developed.
Software, Templating and Video Lessons
Software which includes the critical business models and frameworks that are the core of any MBA.
More than 200 video lessons that guide you through the critical business models and frameworks that are the core of any MBA. All videos are framed around the business context and include principles and models that will be familiar to MBAs, Executive MBAs, DBAs, PHDs, management consultants etc.
More than 150 innovation video lessons. Everything you need to know about innovation management. In sum, this knowledge base is superior to anything taught at Ivy League schools (Harvard et al), London Business School, INSEAD etc. Videos with the latest research and insights are regularly added. You will need to watch all the videos and then revisit them after periods of incubation. Topics include:
Defining and Differentiating
Creative or Innovative State
Components of Radical Innovation
Push Forces Contracting Product Life Cycles
S-Curve ROI Relationship
Domain and Specific Knowledge Curves
Young vs Old
Conceptual vs Experimental Innovators
The Illusion Of Originality
Extending The Product Life Cycle
When To Start New Product Innovation
Manufacturing vs Service Firms
Value Innovation and Value Stream Mapping
External Options For Ideas
Fast Innovation In Business Context
Idea Success Probabilities
Collaboration Vs Competition
Short Term Goal Setting
The Creative State
Quantity Quality Relationship
Engagement vs Waiting For Inspiration
Diversity and Intellectual Cross Pollination
Status Differentials and Politics
Pick Chart For Idea Selection And Risk
SPIN On Problem Identification
Linking Change With Creativity Innovation
Innovation Resistance Equation
Coalition Leader Buy In
Innovation And Vision
Innovation And Communication
Embedding With Myths And Stars
Kill Go Decision Making
The Risk Problem
Growth Risk Stages
Risk Managing Acquisition
Risk Probability vs Impact
Ansoff And Risk Alignment
Value Stream Mapping
Bad Structure Strategy And Decline
Links To Decision Makers
Reducing Information Hops
Cross Platform Learning
Org. Structure Funding
Org. Culture Core Attributes
Tacit Explicit Knowledge
Espoused Vs In Use Theory
Four Technology Impacts
5 Product Innovation Levels
Prototyping Feedback Loops
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