Practise creative leadership

Why are some organisations good at innovating and adapting while others seem to be blindsided by change? Creative leadership, say the co-authors of Cultivating organisational creativity in an age of complexity, a new report from IBM’s Institute for Business Value. “Creativity is the raw material of innovation,” say Barbara Lombardo and Daniel John Roddy. “Yet for all of its recognised value, a stigma surrounds creativity that often inhibits its organisational development in even the most progressive of companies. Creativity is often seen as a risk management liability and an impediment to process and operational control.” Forward-thinking leaders harness complexity to their advantage and actively nurture creativity across the organisation by connecting people and ideas in novel ways, better aligning work structures and incentives, and leveraging internal and external networks. “Culture serves as a catalyst for creative leadership by including others within the organisation and the creative process,” the authors say. “Culture demands authenticity within both the organisation and its processes.” Harvard Business School’s Teresa Amabile, who’s been researching creativity in business for more than three decades, says creative organisations have an abundance of three things: smart people who think differently, passionate engagement, and a creative atmosphere. “Aside from small start-ups, too few organisations today give people a chance to do what they love in service of a meaningful mission,” Amabile says. “Even the smartest, most passionate people won’t thrive in – or will soon abandon – a work environment that stifles them.”

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