1.1. Nature & origins of creativity
1.2. Creativity within the business
1.3. Creative employees and creative managers as part of creative corporate culture
1.4. Creative management and ways of its deployment
2. Google facts
2.1. Position and achievements
2.2. Creational policy and its implementation
3. Toyota bits
3.1. Position and achievements
3.2. Creation in organizational structure
Our report develops the concept of creation in general and creation in the field of business activity; it defines the notion of what creative management and creative corporate culture is and finds out their influence on the process of managing the company. We try to make a conclusion about what types of companies use creativity of employees most successfully; what fields of business and market need creativity most and use creativity most; what the process of ‘crowdsourcing’ actually is and how it is organized in companies of different types.
The aim of our work is after having studied information about creativity, its ways and means of its realization in the field of management, to decide which particularly plays the main part in progress and innovation - creative managers, creative employees, creative atmosphere or creative corporate culture as a strategic resource in business on examples of companies of different level, history and origin with different management system.
For our purposes we chose two well known companies which represent different countries, different cultures, different approaches in development and different attitudes to creative management. Both of them American Google and Japanese Toyota are examples of outstanding and non-routine types of organizations. Studying their examples will help us to understand how to build up the team, how to establish creative corporate culture within the business surroundings, and more importantly how to ‘filter out’ the ideas which will turn out to be necessary for future success from the variety of things occurring during the absorbing process of making money. Besides finding and filtering out constructive creativity, one of most important issues is to feature out how to organize and make clear and quick way for progressive mind and ideas on every stage of hierarchical structure of a firm depending on the company’s age, position and level.
In our report we specifically propose to answer the following questions:
- What are possibilities to use creativity as a functional resource in business?
- What proves that creativity of employees has a positive impact on organizational performance?
- What are the features of a creational management system?
- How to create atmosphere that helps generating ideas?
- How to recognize and immediately estimate the valuable grain of progressive creative thought?
- What are the barriers to generating and using creativity in modern business situation?
- How to improve the route for the progressive creative thought from its generator (a clerk at any position) through its accelerator (chief manager) to the decision maker (CEO or any managing director) and to its successful implementation that will lead to innovation and social effect?
Nowadays creativity is a popular word, adopted by nearly every language in the world. Whether it is linked to people, companies, etc. - creativity establishes an image of something positive and dynamic, economic and social innovation.
The history of management is closely connected with innovation, which is a synonym to prosperity, power and success, and innovation in its turn is triggered into progress by creativity. Is it creativity of staff, creative management or creative corporate culture that makes this general positive effect? How exactly and by which means is it achieved?
Can we imagine a genius Greek inventor crying ‘Eureka!’ while sitting in a stuffy office in a 9 to 5 job with all kinds of tasks, deadlines and reports, under control of the tough corporate management system? What would he have created under such circumstances? Who and how has to manage to see the genius and to ‘filter out’ the weak voice of innovation through office routine?
While studying Jennifer Whyte’s report “Management of creativity and design within the firm“, we find a phrase: ‘Creativity - deployed via different styles but present across workforce.’1
To her mind there exists extensive evidence to support the view that staff is the main engine for creativity and therefore progress and prosperity.
On the other hand there is exists a point that only staff themselves separated and distanced from the management system, not being led correctly or given appropriate instructions and not surrounded by corresponding prepossessing atmosphere are not able to generate essential quantity of necessary creative ideas. This leads us to the thought that management is considered to have appeared because of the need to develop organizational system in every aspect of business and production life, especially human resources. And human resources are the so called depositary of all forces to move production and progress, especially the depositary of seeing facts from a different point of view, and they are great idea generators, but of course under wise management.
In the book by a creativity researcher, trainer and management consultant Pradip N. Khandwalla ‘Corporate creativity: the winning edge’ we noticed the following quote: ‘Many of innovations have become ‘institutionalized’, that is, part of the armory of what is considered professional management, and taught in decent MBA programmes.’2
Most probably creativity depends on the type of person rather than their position or work responsibilities. Approval to this idea can be found in the survey ‘The impact of culture on creativity. A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture)’. There the author indicates that ‘…Importantly this is not the province of specialists or gifted individuals but a common human capability’.3
Jennifer Whyte proceeds with the idea that organizations now find that among their assets there are not only land, labour and capital but also ‘continual innovation’, which she sees as having to become more responsive and flexible, to react more quickly to any changes and to any circumstances in the market situation.
The author presents her view of the role played by creativity in the ‘generic innovation process’.
She characterizes this as an act which involves ‘Triggering the process – Strategic choice – Implementation’ as its phases which make ‘impacts on competitiveness’4.
Different authors fill this term of creativity with slightly different meaning. So it is our task to study different points of view on creation and creativity and make our own conclusion.
1.1. Nature & origins of creativity
It’s difficult to explain this large complex of notions and terms which counterpart with human psychology, personal vulnerability and biologically dependant abilities which we are taught to call creativity. Rob Pope in his book ‘Creativity’ says: ‘Much of what we know comes to us through other people and most things only make sense if we bear other people in mind’.5 This means that the whole term ‘Creativity’ and what stands behind this word depend on the individual and his or her surroundings and background, cultural circumstances as well as personal environment. The author gives the idea that the question of creation ability disturbs nearly everyone at some period of their life. Everybody comes to a time when they start asking themselves if they are creative, how creative they are, are they capable of making something unprecedently new or at least something which differs from what is considered to be usual. Historically, at ancient ages, creativity meant something connected with the act of art creation and artists – from Greek statues and poems to medieval painters, writers and even preachers.
The first records devoted to the word ‘creativity’ appeared not earlier then in 1875. However, the concept of creativity existed long before, having started to appear first with religious purposes, then later with development of arts.
Nowadays, beginning from the nineteenth century, its meaning is more widely ranged - from fine arts and literature to business and advertising.
At present the act of ‘creation’ is very popular: we create a file on our laptop, we hear about creating of something every few minutes, the author asks if we define any difference between the words ‘producing’, ‘generating’ and creating’. And he answers – evidently not.
So now we understand that through times and history the concept of words ‘creation’ and ‘creativity’ had different meaning and served to different purposes. Nowadays it is more customized to business, advertising and social life rather than religion and even art.
These were the points about historical view on creativity. But also understanding of creativity differentiates geographically and culturally from country to country and reflects traditional historical views which can be slightly different from one separate nation to another.
The report ‘The impact of culture on creativity, A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture)’ gives us the idea that: ‘Creativity remains a very complex phenomenon which cannot be reduced to a formula. … The notion of creativity requires understanding at cultural, individual and social levels. First of all it is important to acknowledge that creativity is a cultural concept that evolves with time and across countries.’6
The report describes two different points of view on creativity – western and eastern. Eastern understanding of creation is more philosophical, emotional and personal. ‘The goal of creativity in the East would not be so much to innovate as to provide a revelation of the true nature of the self, of an object or an event.’7
Western point of view on creativity is more oriented on individualism, production and problem solving, has a tendency to serve people’s laziness, and therefore to serve progress.
From the above mentioned we can see that notwithstanding the differences in minds, an idea can be recognized as creational if, having been generated on appropriate grounds and in corresponding conditions, it is appreciated by people in the society, usually these are respected people or experts, mass media personalities or even the ruling politicians.
‘The different perspectives highlight that creativity comes from different combinations of ability and environment, in other words individual pre-disposition and a social context.’8
These are the quote from the report ‘The impact of culture on creativity. A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture’. The author as well summarizes the different factors that have influence on creativity. Among them there are: biology and genetics, personality and intelligence, psychological factors (both conscious and unconscious), cultural and social environment, geography and location, and, which is most interesting, management process.
All in all we can see that creativity stands for the phenomenon which shows the state when a person creates something that is considered to be new and has some kind of value in the society in which this person exists. The society can be a firm, a family, a country, the whole world etc. Under some kind of value we mean things that result in something which is useful, unexpected and spreads beyond usual and habitual things.
1.2. Creativity within the business
Creative people are more or less often living in their own world and not paying much attention to what is happening around or what the rules are. They are sometimes abstracted and distracted by the great amount of thoughts they have on their mind, they are usually the breakers of rules if the latter seem too dull for their bright personality. Sometimes their creativity has to be praised, encouraged and motivated, sometimes – on the contrary – it has to be put into tough and rigid limits.
We noticed that all researchers agree that creativity has to be recognized, motivated, has to be managed and forwarded into the right constructive direction. That’s why it is becoming more important for us to study the meaning of creativity in the field of business and management.
So, creativity is the process which has to be (and certainly is!) controlled and stimulated by a number of spheres and factors such as: cultural, social, human and institutional influences.
Europe by virtue of its deep cultural and historical heritage has a great potential in technological, cultural and creative assets, that’s why it established rather a policy to support any kind of innovation and creative thinking.
And of course it is supposed that to fulfill the above mentioned task enterprises need the army of educated creative professionals to coordinate the potential of those creative outcomes.
‘Businesses are more likely to succeed if they are creative. The role of management is to enable this creativity to flourish and to translate into better products or services. Business consultancies call on companies to set up processes that improve creative output. They propose methodologies to develop executives’ creative skills and aim to stimulate creativity amongst firms’ personnel’.9 The author emphasizes that after interviewing some innovation experts from several European companies there comes the resulting information that very often they hire those creative skills from outside the company. It is in a way some kind of outsourcing – hiring a professional to share his point of view.
There has been another way of drawing human resources to existing on an enterprise problem – crowdsourcing. This is a means of problem-solving, when work is distributed to individuals – to the ‘crowd’ of non-professionals, even sometimes the users of the product. The problem is announced to a large amount of people, time terms are given, a lot of individuals are given the task and the winning one is sometimes rewarded, but this work often is not paid at all. Which is very convenient to the crowdsourcer – the company that gives out the task. Apart from the above mentioned convenience the enterprise has some more advantages from crowdsourcing: a great variety of ideas that occur during the project, headhunting for really bright and creative employees, after listening to the ‘crowd’, organizations get an insight into their customers' needs and wishes, and of course it is an opportunity for the company to be heard and talked about once more.
But to every advantage there always are some disadvantages – crowdsourcing doesn't always bring quality results.
The main difference between crowdsourcing and outsourcing is that the given task is carried out by some undefined public and not by the appointed specific professional individual. If we compare crowdsourcing to open source we’ll see that the difference between them is that open source is a cooperative activity which is initiated and done by volunteers, usually members of the public. While in crowdsourcing the activity is initiated by a client. And the work may be done by an individual, and as well as by a group.
Thus, creative performance of some kind of task has both practical and social effect.
But the main point is in when, how and in what direction to use creativity in a company. The need for creativity, innovation and breakthrough is most clearly visible to the head of a separately taken enterprise. He (or them) has got vision of all processes taking place at his premises. Usually at early days of beginning of an enterprise the task of creation and innovation is delivered by the head himself. Then, with growth of the firm the company’s skeleton grows too. And there appear a number of managers and sub-managers. It becomes more and more difficult to make the staff think and see the way the head CEO sees and thinks. And of course the motivation of an ordinary manager’s global thinking is not the same as of the owner of the company or of the managing director. So in some time it becomes quite clear that employed managers usually follow their instructions, try to fit in the managing mechanism of a firm, but they are not very good at global thinking and creativity. Maybe because every manager aims at career and creativity was not written in their positional instructions. Their main responsibility is to control fulfillment of rigid rules for certain business processes. So it means they are more executers than inventors and creators. And they are not actually able to create. And the more the business developed and the hierarchy structure spread up the more distanced managers became from creation innovative ideas.
1 Jennifer Whyte: Management of creativity and design within the firm, DTI ‘Think Piece’, Imperial College London, p.2
2 Pradip N. Khandwalla: (2003) - ‘Corporate creativity: the winning edge’, p.161
3 The impact of culture on creativity.: (2009), A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture), European Affairs, p.3
4 Jennifer Whyte, Management of creativity and design within the firm, DTI ‘Think Piece’, Imperial College London, p.2
5 Rob Pope (2003): Creativity. Theory, history, practice – Routledge, p.13
6 The impact of culture on creativity.: (2009), A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture), European Affairs, p. 22
7 The impact of culture on creativity: (2009), A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture), European Affairs, p. 22
8 The impact of culture on creativity: (2009), A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture), European Affairs, p. 23
9 The impact of culture on creativity: (2009), A Study prepared for the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture), European Affairs, p. 61