Few can lay claim to a true understanding of the relationship between innovation, invention and creativity, says Sir Ken Robinson, globally renowned thought leader in education and author of several bestselling books on the nature of creativity.
He believes many companies are blind to our natural ability to mesh the three.
Robinson argues that the key is to engage individuals who have become disengaged from their internal aspirations while struggling with business environments that stymie creativity.
“That’s what I’m arguing for, really,” Robinson says. “I’m trying to get people to reframe themselves – both in what companies are capable of and what the people inside them can do if we allow more fluidity in our understanding of their talents and interests.”
He points to a British creative agency that encouraged departments from art to finance to run workshops in their speciality for staff in other areas. This led not only to people discovering hidden talents and passions, it also increased interdepartmental collaboration and ignited a more vibrant sense of corporate identity.
“If you want people to reveal their talents, give them a chance,” Robinson says.
How to keep your company creative
Challenged by increasing disruption – digital and organisational – companies are investing in their capacity for innovation and invention to remain competitive.
Sir Ken Robinson, Professor Emeritus, University of Warwick, UK, global thought leader in education
People often think that creativity is just about the arts. It is about the arts – but not only – you can be creative in mathematics and science and technology.
What alienates people in organisations, I think, is where they feel their real talents are marginalised or not fully understood and where they have no role in the larger workings of the company.
If you focus only on the strict function for which you are employed, your life can become very narrowed. But if that role in the organisation is also part of a larger participation in the life of the organisation itself, then it can become much more fulfilling.
If you want people to reveal their talents, give them a chance.
It’s about fresh thinking – at least to you, and it may be fresh to the world, eventually. It’s about ideas that add value and what that means is that creativity isn’t just, properly conceived, it’s not just whatever comes to your head.
You can be creative without feeling passionate about something. But I, on the whole, think the most productive work in different fields is driven when people have an abiding interest and commitment to a particular form of work.
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