Addressing the practical aspects of accessing the creative spirit for improved organizational performance and/or bringing creativity into an organization or group of individuals
Organizational Creativity is an application of a powerful interdisciplinary understanding of a technology of creativity interlinked through a common set of information to create health, wealth, inner satisfaction or whatever we desire to create
Copyright 2008 by K. Ferlic, † All Rights Reserved
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What is it?
Organizational Creativity captures the concepts, principles and understanding relating to organizational transformation, organizational design and organizational dynamics resulting from an exploration of creativity in the workplace and subsequent exploration of our individual inherent creativity. Applications of these concepts, principles and understanding to organizations and groups are discussed in the topics "Transforming the Organization" and "Transforming the Heart of the Organization."
Organizational Creation is a complement to any existing organizational development and/or organizational dynamics approach. It is not some new or different organizational theory. Rather, its primary purpose is two fold. One aspect is to provide individuals an understanding and insights as to how to "get out of the box" of mind set and tunnel vision to manage organizational change and transformation. The second aspect is to raise awareness as to the existence of what is best called a creative spirit within each individual and how this creative spirit impacts organizational performance at all level. What is significantly different is organizational creativity perspective as to why an organization even exists and the individualís relationship with the organization. This perspective makes all the difference in what is created within the organization. (More on ..... what is Organizational Creativity)
What it is not
What is provided in Organizational Creativity and its applications in "Transforming the Organization" and "Transforming the Heart of the Organization." is not the definitive statement on organizational management, organization design, organizational dynamics or organization transformation.. Nor is it all that you need to know about creativity in organizations. Rather it provides a perspective on the issues that keep individuals from creating the organizational performance they desire and provides some thoughts and recommendations as to what to do about the key issues. (More on .... the organizational creativity perspective)
Organizational Creativity is not about motivating individuals although that is part of what ultimately gets accomplished. Nor is it another philosophy, management approach or organization theory although it addresses these subjects. Rather it is about learning to manage the creative life energy of individuals and the creative process which governs how that energy manifests in an experience. It is about harnessing the individual and organizational collective energy that allows us to act, or not act, with passion in the world. Organizational creativity looks to align the passion within each individual to effectively perform their role and to create a collective passion for exceptional organizational performance.
An alternative view as to what Organizational Creativity is
In studying our inherent creativity, one can come to see there is inner creative power and an outer creative power. Organizational Creativity is about learning the relationship between inner and outer creative powers and how to use this relationship to create the desired organization or organizational transformation. Depending on what one desires to create, the focus may be primary on the inner creativity power, the outer creative power or the relationship between the inner and the outer.
Organizational Creativity is about combining pieces, the individual members of an organization, to make a whole. The question is, "What is the motivation for the pieces to come together and remain together to function as an organization?" Understanding the motivation of the individuals to look to enter an organization and remain in that organization will provide us tremendous information as to how our organization will ultimately need to be structured. The motivation of individual is key to understanding the relationship of the individualís creative power and it relations to how that inner creativity power adds to the outer creative power in the organizational collective.
Organizations are a shared creation. In essence, creating an organization is creating a collective from the individual pieces and that collective will take on a life of it own seemingly independent of the individual pieces In this regard, Organizational Creativity is about learning how to manage the collective thinking of the organization to create the results we desire.
A case for Organizational Creativity
There are many books, teachers, consultants and the like that talk about how to manage an organizations. Many individuals have careers built on advising individuals as to how to go about creating effective organizations. However, everyone is not successful or at least not as successful as they like. If they were, we wouldnít need all the book and teachers telling us how to do it. There would be no demand and no market for such individuals or information. So the question is, "Why are some organizations so capable of obtaining the desired performance where as other organizations are not successful especially when both groups use the same techniques and/or follow the same advisors?" Organizational Creativity provides some answers to these questions.
The answer lies in the fact that managing and transforming an organization is like living life. Both are a creative endeavor. We cannot blindly apply the lessons learned of the past and of others to our situation unless we understand the embedded assumptions about the problem we face and the solution we are attempting to apply. Organization Creativity looks to understand these assumptions. (More on ..... a case for Organizational Creativity)
The key to full performance and safety, health, security and quality
There are many opinions, ideas and even data that suggest what needs to be done to obtain full performance, safety, health, security and quality in the work place. Based on the exploration of creativity in the workplace and the subsequent exploration of our inherent creativity is it is the premise and understanding of Organizational Creativity it is the creative spirit which lies within each employee is the organizationís most valuable asset. It is the creative spirit which ultimately allows for full performance, safety, health, security and quality. Without employees an organization will cease to function. Even fully automated mechanical and electronic processes require human intervention at some point.
Without the participation of the creative spirit, the employee ceases to function. Quite simply all that humanity has built functions on, or is a result of, harnessing the energy of the individual to adequately do their assigned task. However, it is the individualís creative spirit which supplies that energy to the employee. The employeeís creative spirit is the key to the individualís performance and, subsequently, the overall organizational performance. Whether one realizes it or not, more often than not, many motivational techniques seek to get the individualís creative spirit to embrace the organizational goals. The key is to create an organization to harnesses this creative spirit in a way that servers both the individual and the organizational needs to achieve full performance. It is here the Organizational Creativity approach to organizational creativity is different than many other approaches. It recognizes some individuals and their creative spirit will never be able to align with certain types and kinds of organizational approaches but yet that same individual and creative spirit can readily embrace others. Organizational Creativity recognizes trying to fit certain individuals into an organization is in some ways it is like trying to fit the proverbial square peg in a round hole. It look to both the uniqueness of the individual and the organization to find a best fit. (More on ...why nurture the creative spirit within the organization)
The focus of Organizational Creativity is to help the reader to "get out of the box" in which they find themselves. This material does not seek to put the reader into a new box by following a particular set of beliefs, a way of thinking, or a particular management approach as one would create disciples with the claim this new box will give what is needed and/or desired. Rather the approach is to empower the reader to become a conscious creator to create the approach and methodology which best serves manifesting what the reader desires. (More on .... the box of creativity)
The approach within the family of the three organizational creativity web sites ("Organizational Creativity," "Transforming the Organization," and "Transforming the Heart of the Organization") is based on the proverb, "If you give an individual a fish, they eat for a day; if you teach them how to fish, they eat for a life time." Organizational Creativity provides the basic understanding of a creative endeavor, the creative process and our inherent creativity that you can use for any creative endeavor inside or outside the organization and in any aspect of life. That goal is to show the how to get out of the box and stay out - or at least how to get out of the box whenever they need to do so.
Organizational creativity is applicable to any organization or group of individual which needs to be harmonized into a functional whole. The reason for this is people lie the heart of any organization and the creative spirit lies at the heart of the individual. Organization Creativity is about bringing management awareness to the existence of the creative spirit and its impacts on the organization. Since people lie at the heart of any organization and are its most valuable asset, organizational creativity is applicable to any organization. As a minimum it can serve to help transition an organization. Analogously, in the same way scaffolding can be used to help re-facing the front of a large building and then discarded, Organizational Creativity helps to transition an organization. After the transition, the decision is then made whether to keep concepts and principles within Organizational Creativity active in the organization complementing the organization approach or totally abandon dispense with them after the transition
Some of the more powerful uses of Organizational Creativity and its applications are for organizational design, change management, organizational restructuring, reengineering and/or restructuring an existing organization, organizational transformation and any other activity which requires organizationally doing business in a new or different way as a result of changing world conditions. In essence, it is about accessing and bring truly creative ideas and innovations into existing organizational dynamics.
However, it is also very effective for program management and stable work conditions to motivate employees, improve quality and performance, it strength lies in conceptually orchestrating the organization for change and the unexpected. Since the Organizational Creativity approach is focused on creativity and working with the unknown, it is extremely effective for unknown situations like change and emergency or upset operations. (More on ..... orchestrating the organization)
Since Organizational Creativity can be used to create an organization where both the creative spirit is nourished and the needs of the workplace are met it can also be used to help guide career changes and life transformations both individual and organizationally. Relative to this fact, whether applied individually or organizationally, Organizational Creativity helps to establish clarity as to the direction individuals needs to go in their life and the actions they must undertake. It can be used to refocus employees as their job and/or life changes as a result of organizational changes.
The intended audience
This material is primary written for two audiences: the individual within the organization and the organizational manager.
One audience is the individual since any organizational creative endeavor starts with a single individual and grows outward from the individual It is provided so the individual may become aware of three things.
The first is that their creative spirit needs to be nurtured for it impacts all that they do. But it also needs to be nurtured by what they do. That is what they do provides them with internal satisfaction and fulfillment. If that is not provided, they will not perform well at what they do. They will never be truly happy and may, in fact, cause things to arise such as illness or even accidents for it is only when we are awake and aware do we prevent accidents. If one is not happy or satisfied in what they do, it is obvious they are not doing what they really what to do. However, if they are performing well at what they do and yet are telling themselves they are not happy for some reason or another, then a part of themselves is lying about what they really want to do in life.
The second things is the individual can come to understand it is possible to create a workplace where the creative spirit is nurtured and/or perform a job that nurtures their creative spirit. It is to see it is possible to both nurture their creative spirit in the workplace and successfully achieve the organizational mission. Once one becomes aware of the need to nurture this creative spirit one will become aware of what is possible in this regard. The individual can then begin to look and see what they may do to create a nurturing environment for themselves and others or go to an organization that wants to create such an environment.
In knowing it is possible, the individual can take responsibility for both nurturing their creative spirit to do what needs to be done and find a place to work that allows their creative spirit to be nurtured in the way it needs to be nurtured. In this realization the individual can begin to look to see if the current organization for which they work does anything to nurture their creative spirit. If their creative spirit does not feel nurtured in some way, they are probably being used if not abused. No amount of money or perks can make up for the life that is taken from us. We may get paid well, but we nevertheless are paying a price in the damage that is caused to our creative spirit to work in such an environment. In looking at the true needs of the creative spirit, one issue that may arise is that the individual is aware of the ego needs and how they may still be responding to life in childhood patterns designed to protect themselves. This issue is addressed under the topic, "The issue of identifying and meeting true organizational needs"
The third thing is to become aware of the types and kinds of things that make or donít make a nurturing environment in an organization and an understanding and idea as to the obstacles and problems facing an organization relative to embracing truly creative solutions. The individual benefits in understanding what they face it trying to bring a creative energy into the organization is more often than not, not personal. Rather, it is simply the result of the nature of an organization. (More on .... nurturing our creative spirit in the workplace)
The second audience is for managers, supervisors and anyone who desire to develop individuals to achieve full organizational performance and/or create a responsive organization that can quickly and effectively respond to a changing situation. These individuals also need to understand what they face it trying to bring a creative energy into the organization Organizational Creativity provides an understanding as to how to go about creating visionary leaders to lead and manage organizational change and organizational transformation.
Although this material is written with these two primary audiences in mind, Organizational Creativity is for any organization or group of individuals desiring to be creative within an organization and doing business differently than in the past.
Although there are a variety of factors, observation, lessons learned and experiences which give rise to the content of Organizational Creativity, there was a single issue which gave rise to seriously looking at creativity in the organization and workplace. The occasion to begin to explore creativity in the workplace began when, as a manager, the author found it extremely difficult to find individuals who could provide true creative solutions to the problems being faced within an organization as opposed to attempting to apply others peoplesí solutions to seeming similar problems. In reflection, the author realized he encounters a similar issue in other organizations of which he was a member and/or other organization which he had the opportunity to observe. The author began to wonder as to why individuals were not getting to the root cause of the problems that were being faced. He wondered why individuals were not free to play with ideas and possibilities much the way they played as a young child early in life. The answer to that question began the exploration of creativity in the workplace and subsequently an exploration into our inherent creativity at many different level beginning with the organizations. The results are what gave rise to Organizational Creativity. (More on ...... the origins of Organizational Creativity)
The key to organizational change and transformation
The key to understanding and managing organizational change and transformation is the realization that any organizational change or transformation is a creative endeavor. As such, there are particular types and kind of issues we face in any creative endeavor. (More on ..... the key understanding about a creative endeavor)
In any truly creative endeavor, we are moving from something we know into something we have never previously experienced. We may have experienced something similar but each organization, each group of individuals are unique as are the environmental influences and the environment in which they are functioning. All are uniquely different from what we previously experienced. Any "cookbook" or predetermined approach or method will not ultimately work. Parts will work which make the chosen approach look successful.
Success arises only to the extent the existing organization falls into the implicit and explicit assumptions made within the selected approach. The more the organization lies outside the assumptions the less the chosen methodology will be successful. The question is how much is the current organization going to look like the new organization and are underlying assumptions going to be challenged? How big are these differences and do the difference impact the assumptions we are making about what is happening, or will need to happen?
Relative to the nature of mind, we need to understand the mind which created the problem we face is not the mind that is going fix our problem. We will need to shift our perspective in some way. As discussed in the topic, "The key understanding about a creative endeavor," a creative endeavor we enter the unknown and must learn to do a nonconscious or conscious dance between heart and mind if we are going to be successful at manifesting the desired creation To achieve this change, it is necessary for someone in the organization to step out of the current way of thinking and doing business to find the desired solution and then lead the organization in the application of that solution. This will require one or more individuals to walk the left hand path relative to the existing organization thinking and begin to do a balancing act between the new and the old. (More on.... shifting our perspective)
Relative to the collective thinking of the organization, two things arise. One is there is the need to change a collective mind of the organization and how the organization will go about doing business after the changes are made. How this is best done depends on the organization. The most common way is to train the individuals within the organization on the desired change. However, training may not be sufficient if there are deeply habits and/or beliefs. It may be necessary to move into what is best called shifting the culture of the organization. (More on ....shifting the culture of the organization)
The second issue relative to collective is the concept of the organization is tied to the larger human collective as to how groups of individual should work together. To think about an organization and how an organization should function ties us to the past and the human collective. However, any organizational creative endeavor takes us into the unknown and outside of mind and the collective thinking. As a result there is a natural tension which arises in opposition to any organization creative endeavor that affects how the organization will do business. How significant the tension and how much of an obstacle it becomes depends on the organization and how closely tied it is to the human collective and how the human collective functions. (More on ....the organization and the collective.)
Truth in Labeling
Organizational Creativity and it applications in "Transforming the Organization" and "Transforming the Heart of the Organization" are not just another approach to organization management. The ideas and concepts presented are based on both how we create our experiences and how we create the reality we experience. Embracing them in our life will cause us to thinking different about ourselves, the nature of Creation and the individuals we experience in life. They can will cause us to transform our life. Since our inner world is reflected in the outer, and any true creative endeavor takes us into the unknown, we can expect our life to change in ways we initially would not suspect as we apply this principles in our life and/or the workplace. Exactly what we will experience will depend on the intentions we hold and what we desire to create in and with our lives.
Organizational Creativity is, in essence, about harnessing the creative spirit within each individual in a way that severs both the organizational needs and the needs of this creative spirit. Harnessing the creative spirit takes one into the nature of the internal and external creative powers/Creative Powers of creation/Creation. Although Organizational Creativity is totally secular, the issues around accessing the inner and outer creative powers/Creation Powers of creation/Creation and the unseen energies of creation/Creation will often take one into topics normally discussed with spiritual traditions. The types and kinds of issues which surface in these areas depend on both the individual and what the organization desire to create.
On the surface the concepts, principles and approach of Organizational Creativity looks like many other traditional approach to organizational design, organizational management and organizational dynamics. However, there are some essential differences that impact individuals at a much deeper level. It is not uncommon for individuals having experienced the concept and principles in Organizational Creativity about the needs of the creative spirit to come to the realization they are in the wrong job if not the wrong profession.
In looking at the concept of Organizational Creativity, there are obvious questions which need to be addressed before one starts. For starters, the most of important is, "What kind of organization is desired and why?" Is there a fixed function and the need for compliance or does the organization need to be response to change, or is it a combination of both. The recommendation is to become very clear on the intentions we hold and pull the string on why we desire to implement the changes which have brought us to this material.
The recommendation is to not just jump into what is discussed here. Rather it is recommended a safe and secure space be created to prototype, test and experiment with the aspects of this material that are being considered for use. We need to remember, there are no mistakes in a true creative endeavor there are only learning experiences as to what does and doesnít work. However, time is a valuable commodity to an organization and it is much more efficient to do the learning with a small group or a small portion of the whole organization rather than the whole. Some organizations just do not have the organizational culture and/or belief structure to embrace some ideas regardless of who supports or recommends the idea be implemented. Here again, some ideas look good on paper but fail miserable when implemented. One may find there is no need to change the organization structure that is use but rather the need is to change the organizational culture. There is often more than one way to organize any group of individuals. The question is if choice in how the groups is organized is supported by their culture of the individuals or whether their culture better supports a different organizational structure.
Using this material and approach
Organizational Creativity is about coming to know and understand the concepts and principles governing the creative process which governs our creative endeavors and then being able to apply this understanding to the organization. To do this effectively in a cost efficient way, there is the need for an individual who has both the intellectual and experiential understanding of what is involved in a true creative endeavor and how to lead and guide the individual in an organization. These individuals can be called visionary leaders. That is, the are capable of accessing a vision and holding that vision as they lead the organization to bring that vision into manifestation. They are able to bridge the world as it is and the world that will be created by the vision.
Vision cannot be delegated. Nor can the manifestation of a vision. There need to for an individual who holds the vision for the duration of the process continually checking to see that what is unfolding is true to the vision. As others become involved with the manifestation of a vision or the mundane of the world enters the manifestation, vision are usually compromised in some way. This is particular true about manifesting visions related to organizations and/or making money. It has been said some of the best parts of movies end up on the cutting room floor for a variety of reasons. The same can be said about any vision. Only a visionary leader who is there during the whole process is able to keep the manifestation true to the vision or there is someone who can act as the "keeper of the flame" who keeps the key managers focused.
However, in all honesty sometimes it doesnít matter. Sometime even a fragment of a vision is more than adequate to satisfy the needs of the world. Yet a true vision is not about meeting or satisfying the needs of the world. Rather it is about changing the world. A visionary leader hold the vision in spite of all the demands the existing world makes to change the vision.
It has been observed that many individual are creative and many individual have lead others through a creative endeavor in an organization. However, it has been found few understand the whole process from the inception of a vision to its full manifestation. The reason for this is the work that needs to be done at any point along the way changes and few individuals have all the necessary talent to address all that needs to be done. We rely on other to assist.
If we are talking about an organization, many manager may get and creative idea but they do not consider it their job to ensure that idea is properly implemented. The assume they can delegate that vision. Yet they become frustrated because their staff and employees cannot give them the vision they saw. Quite simply it is their vision and others do not have the insight to bring it into existence.
It has been observed there are three ways address the creativity needed for organizational transformation. However, to understand the three ways, we first we need to realize we cannot give what we do not have. To give an organization the creativity it needs to transform there needs to someone who is sufficiently creative with the proper perspective about organizational dynamics to give the creativity and insights that are needed through the whole transformation process. In this regard, the three ways to address the creativity needed for organizational transformation are really about three way to obtain an individual who can give the organization the creativity it needs.
One way to obtain the individual or individuals who can guide a transformation process is for members of the organization to elect to study the creative process and what is really involved in manifesting a true creative endeavor. However, this contains a high degree of risk. If an individual truly gets involved with the creative process and a true creative endeavor to gain an intellectual and experiential knowledge of the process that is needed they will most likely be uninterested in returning to the confines of an organization.
Here we need to remember that the mind which created the problem is not the mind that will solve the problem. To create the new perspective the mind of the individual or individuals will significantly change. Quite simply, key to our inherent creativity is that the creative spirit seeks the freedom to be free to express itself. To free that creative spirit to the degree that it studies and learns the creative process on it own requires the individual to move significantly toward, if not into, the infinity of our being, When an individual does the work it is very difficult to climb back into a box and confined the creative spirit. Rather, the creative spirit seeks to remain free. This it not to say it canít do so. It can. But it is also painful. Unless there is a way to address the pain experienced in confinement, it is very possible the individual will develop some type and kind of addiction or addictive behavior to numb the pain it feels because of the captivity of the creative spirit.
Here it needs to be understood the whole intent Organizational Creativity is to make available an understanding about the creative process so that individuals do not have to make the exploration and discovery themselves. They will have to do their own experiments with the material to experientially know its truth. But they will not have to move so far into the exploration so as to destroy the world from which they came. Using this material the individual can gain the necessary insights and understandings about their own inherent creativity to manage a creative endeavor and even lead others yet not cause themselves to destroy the ties that keep them in their current world. The topic, "Options for exploring Organizational Creativity" provides options for this first choice.
The second way it create visionary leaders. That is, individuals can be educated in the creative process and what is required for a creative endeavor under the guidance of one who had been there. It is much like learning to fly and airplane. There is an classroom portion and then a "hands on" portion all done under the guidance of a instructor. After the solo flight, the individual is free to fly as they desire. The stories discussed in the topics, "The Human Condition and seen from the Creativity Perspective" described rather well what needs to be addressed. Without that mentor or instructor we are like a eaglet raised with chickens never learning to fly. With the mentor or instructor we are like that lion cub who chokes on the what we need to do to become who we are and step into our creative power as a visionary leader. How long it takes to train a visionary leader all depends on the desire of the individual undergoing the training. The topic, "Developing visionary leaders" provides some understanding as to what is required for developing visionary leaders.
The third way is to employ an individual who has done the necessary inner and outer journey of exploration of our inherent creativity and is sufficiently knowledgeable about what an organization faces in transformation to help guide and mentor the organizational transformation that is desired.
Relative to the third method, some thoughts and ideas as to how to go about implementing the concepts and principles of Organizational Creativity are discussed in the two topics "Transforming the Organization" and "Transforming the Heart of the Organization." These two topics represent the two alternative paths we can take in organizational transformation, design and/or dynamics and reflect the dance between heart and mind required for any creative endeavor performed on the organizational level. As such, these two topics represent the ends of a spectrum where the actual approach used will be a blend of these two endpoint and will depend on the type and kind of organization that is desired. (More on ...... the spectrum in organizational thinking)
Exploring Organizational Creativity
Exploring Organizational Creativity is about coming to know and understand the concepts and principles of Organizational Creativity both intellectually and experientially. If you simply desire to apply Organizational Creativity, some ideas as to how to go about doing so and assistance can also be accessed through the application topics "Transforming the Organization" and "Transforming the Heart of the Organization."
To explore concepts principles of Organizational Creativity with the intention of taking them into an organization, we need to remember, we cannot give what we do not have. The first step in exploring Organizational Creativity is to see how consciously creating impacts our life and the world we experience. The second step is to then bring that understanding into the workplace. In this regard, there is personal work that each of us must do to conscious know and understand what is involved in manifesting a creative endeavor. Without some understanding of the creative process and the influences on that process from our environment we will be unable to see what really lies in an organization change and why we face certain types and kinds of problems and issues.
Consciously creating starts with using our creative imagination to explore all the options that are possible in a given situation and then to begin to experiment with some of those options in the world to see which can be manifested in the environment in which we find ourselves. Some options may not supported by our current environment and we will need to change the environment if they are to be used.
We have a free will and are free to explore all and any aspect of Creation as we wish. However, most find this difficult to do relative to Organizational Creativity. At one level, they donít know where to start and what aspect of life to explore and/or they do not have a set of beliefs that allows them to do the exploration. At a second level, they have no idea as to how to experiment with creativity in the workplace especially if they hold a position in the organization what can be considered a position where they have little to no freedom in determining what they do and how it is done.
Relative to a recommended approach to explore Organizational Creativity, each of us our unique and are faced with both a unique organization and unique position in that organization. What works for one will not necessarily work for another. It would nice to give a single method that all could follow and would work for everyone. But it is not possible and not that simple. The first challenge in exploring Organizational Creativity is to accept and embrace how unique each of us really are. We then need to look inward and have our intuitive guidance lead us on our own unique path for what we desire to create. This, of course, assumes, we can recognize our own uniqueness and we are capable of using our intuitive guidance.
Since there is no single path to explore, a selection of options is provided in the topic, "Options for exploring Organizational Creativity."
Organizational Creativity Topics
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