Creativity and Innovation Models
There are many approached to creativity and innovation, however many users look at the technique and not the process or barriers.
In our brief article on the 4-As (Aim Assess Activate & Apply) we looked at how this process could be easily used to help develop the innovative capacity of an organization. Here we look at the model in more depth, and with a practical approach showing how each step can be applied within an organization.
The Creatrix Certification Programme and innovation methodology follows a four-step methodology of Aim, Assess, Activate, and Apply.
This easy-to-understand and use model is the foundation for unleashing innovative capacity for change within individuals, teams, and organisations.
Aim: If I say to you, “I want you/your team/your company to be more innovative,” what does that mean? The word innovation by itself has little value unless we can define the purpose and the context for the need to innovate.
The Aim in the Creatrix Process is to set that agenda, purpose, reason etc..
Aim for the Individual
Individuals, like teams and companies, need to have an objective as to why increasing their capacity to be more innovative is desirable.
It may be as broad as:
- Personal growth and development, or
As narrow as:
- Wanting to be able to offer more creative ideas in a specific area like innovative customer service or alternative ways of delivering a service or program.
Aim for the Team
Teams also need to have strongly stated Aims. In fact, teams may need to have clearer reasons than individuals. They need to know what’s the benefit across the group of using the Creatrix Process for greater innovative success—what do we want as a team?
You may have a team that is slowing down, not creating the innovative ideas that it once did, and so they need a boost, a recharge or, as with the individual, it may be that they need to develop innovative ideas fast to meet the competition head on. Whatever it is, creating an AIM is essential for laying the groundwork for increasing innovative capacity within a team.
Aim for the Organisation/ Company
A company’s vision or mission (AIM)is often tied to the need for greater innovation. Vision’s like “Pursuit of Excellence” or “Beating Coca-Cola”, etc. are statements requiring innovation. Neither one of them can be made a reality without innovation.
Specifics for implementing—that is, creating greater innovative capacity can only be realized by first articulating the direction the organisation needs to go.
Assess: Individual, team, and organisational assessment begins with the Creatrix Inventory. Richard E. Byrd, Ph.D., developed the Creatrix Inventory over thirty years ago. Since then it has been used over 60,000 times throughout the world. It was recently re-normed in 1996, and again in 2000 by Jacqueline Byrd, Ph.D. This reliable and valid instrument measures an individual’s level of creativity and risk-taking, and ultimately innovative capacity.
Innovative companies know how to capitalise on their creative and risk-taking employees to create innovative environments. The Creatrix Inventory is designed to help people identify their levels of creativity (the degree to which they can produce unconventional ideas) as well as their orientations toward risk taking (high, moderate, or low). An entire organisation can be profiled in terms of its capacity to be creative, take risks, and innovate.
Creativity may be defined as the ability to produce new ideas. Those ideas may be as mundane as turning eggshells into little faces or as sublime as Athelstan Spilhaus’ floating cities in the Atlantic Ocean. They may be as practical as the saltshaker or as absurd as an alphabet with an astronomical number of letters.
When asked “Are you creative?” many people answer, “no”. Some of these negative answers are correct, but most of them are wrong, or at least misplaced. Unfortunately, people are most often in situations that demand repetition rather than creativity, conformity rather than diversity. If their actions are unconventional, other people may be suspicious of them or view them as unpredictable.
Restrictions on experimenting with new ideas are imposed on most people from early childhood. Children are instructed to keep within the lines of the colouring book, and doodling is discouraged. Creating fanciful stories is interpreted as lying, and pretending is tolerated only until a child is a certain age—then it becomes embarrassing. Being out of line—the line to the dining hall/ cafeteria, the toilets, the water fountain, or the playground—is considered bad behavior.
Adults on the job are also caught in a variety of binds. Management may want coordination, implementation, and follow-through performed in the same old way, or the amount of creativity desired may be unclear.
Creativity is measured by originality. In fact, about the only criterion for creativity that researchers agree exists is originality. A small percentage of people live in a phantasmagoric world of wildly imaginative ideas; others are at the opposite extremes—out of touch with daydreams. Most people, however, lie between the two extremes. However what is “old hat” in one environment is creative or leading edge in another – its all about context. Sometimes being creative is about taking something from one environment and making it work in another (practical innovation)
“Genius” seems to be the only word available to describe the truly creative thinker. The word used to distinguish an Einstein from a bright quiz-show participant. Unfortunately—because the word is also used to refer to a person with a high I.Q.—people often assume that creativity and intelligence are related. There is little evidence to support that assumption. Many people with only average intelligence have original ideas, and some of the brightest people seldom have original thoughts. Although I.Q. may be an accurate predictor of success in school and on certain types of jobs, it provides no guarantee about a person’s ability to make a unique contribution to any field of work. However, just as I.Q. is distributed on a normal curve, so is unconventional thinking. Some people are extremely unconventional, some are extremely conventional, and most lie somewhere in between.
About Risk Taking:
Creativity in an organisation involves risk taking. Management often claims it wants employees to be creative, but usually it does not welcome the associated risks. In order to present new ideas, the creative person must sometimes be the risk taker. Risk taking may mean that a person tenaciously pushes his or her ideas onto someone else—an employer, a colleague, a department—at some risk to the creator’s security, career, reputation, or self-esteem.
Although risk taking is not a trait (i.e., it results from a person’s fear of failure, fear of rejection, the cost-benefit factors of a situation, etc.), everyone develops an unmistakable risk orientation over the years. That orientation (high, moderate, or low) may change during different periods in the person’s life. The organisation’s response (e.g., supportive, punitive, conservative, or aggressive) will also affect the member’s risk-taking orientation.
When people determine their own orientations, they can predict their own responses to different situations. Being aware of their employers’ responses will also help employees to predict how the employers will react to specific proposals. This knowledge permits better management of risk for all concerned.
Risk takers also appear on a normal curve. Those who take all their cues from the organisation or others, make up roughly 16 percent. Those who take their cues only from themselves, make up another 16 percent. The other 68 percent fall between the extremes. Most people take cues, to varying degrees, from the environment and their own convictions, needs, and interests.
What Is Your Creativity And Risk-Taking Orientation?
Measuring the creative sense and risk-taking orientation of individuals in organisations helps to explain why one organisation stagnates and dies, another takes excessive risks and lands in bankruptcy, and yet others are moderately to extremely successful.
As the Creatrix Inventory suggests, your creativity and risk-taking orientation can be plotted on a matrix. The vertical scale designates the degree to which you are generally a low, moderate, or high risk taker. The horizontal scale designates the degree of your creative abilities. The Creatrix Inventory is further divided into eight zones, each representing a creativity/risk-taking orientation. Although there are shades between the orientations—matters of degree—only the eight “pure” orientations will be described here to provide contrast, illustrations, and clarity.
The four orientations in the corners represent people who rank either extremely high or extremely low on creativity or risk taking. When the extreme types become more socialised, Sustainers (low creativity, low risk taking) may become Modifiers; Challengers (low creativity, high risk taking), Practicalizers; Innovators (high creativity, high risk taking), Synthesizers; and Dreamers (high creativity, low risk taking), Planners.
Assessing where you are
The Creatrix inventory and profile can help to assess you, your team’s and your organisations strengths. The assessing stage is an important part in any organisational development process.
Activate: Just knowing that innovative capacity is a function of creativity and risk taking is not enough. Through our research and experience we’ve identified and isolated the Seven Drivers of Creativity and Risk Taking that influence innovative abilities. Activating these Drivers are what the application process is all about. Its about doing something with the information you now have.
Overview of the Drivers
Knowing that innovation is a function of creativity and risk taking does little in terms of adding value. That is, what value is there if I tell you that you need to become more creative or take more risks? Through rigorous qualitative and quantitative research methods, The Creatrix Team has isolated the Seven Drivers that influence innovative abilities.
|Creativity Drivers||Risk Taking Drivers|
Understanding these Drivers and how they influence individual, team, and organisational behavior is a critical component to understanding how to accelerate innovative capacity. To fully grasp the power of the Drivers, we have incorporated a series of challenges designed first to develop an intellectual understanding of the Driver, second, to develop a deeper personal understanding of the Driver, and finally a challenge to internalize the Driver thereby providing the participant an opportunity to act on their own unique understanding of the Driver.
Once these Drivers are understood, learning how to apply them to real world work situations becomes the challenge, that when overcome, result in tremendous impact on an individual, team, and organisation. To apply the Drivers, one must develop an appreciation for how they influence behavior. For example, resiliency is a hallmark of people who take risks. Being able to rebound from rejection is a learned behavior that enables us to take more risks and recover quickly from our mistakes. Learning how to become more resilient helps us to persevere in a challenging business climate that often requires more than one attempt at problem resolution. Clearly, resiliency is something we like to see in those we work with and even in ourselves.
|Ambiguity:||Able to operate with uncertainty and vagueness—don’t require high structure, goals, or objectives to accomplish or create things, ideas, services, or products.|
|Independence:||Not subject to the control or influence or determination of another or others—are not willing to subordinate themselves—don’t like to be managed.|
|Inner-Directed:||Determine their own expectations and norms—sing to their own tune.|
|Uniqueness:||Appreciate and value differences—value uniqueness in both self and others.|
|Authenticity:||Being what you purport to be: genuine—“walk your talk”—“tell it like it is”, “true to yourself”|
|Resiliency:||The capacity to spring back, rebound and to successfully adapt and learn even in the face of adversity and stress|
|Self-Acceptance:||Approving and/or satisfied with your behaviours or actions—“like yourself”|
So what are you going to do now?
Apply is the fourth stage of the model.
Apply: Our applications programme brings the concepts of creativity, risk taking, and innovative capacity to life. Our unique ability to apply the Drivers in real-life situations that actually get results is the key component to accelerating innovative capacity for change in your organisation.
If I say to you, “I want you/your team/your company to be more innovative,” what does that mean?
The word innovation by itself has little value unless we can define the purpose and the context for innovating. The AIM in the Creatrix Process aims to do that.
Apply for the Individual
Individuals, like teams and companies, need to take action to help them achieve their stated objective. In the context of the Creatrix, this will be applying changes which have the goal of increasing or decreasing one of the drivers.
Apply for the Team
As a way of starting to develop the culture of the organisation, applying effort to changing how the team uses one or more of the drivers can be a critical first step to change. With all members of the team working on one or two drivers those actions and behaviours will be encouraged. Working on developing one driver also helps to create a common goal for the team to form around and to support each other.
Apply for the Organisation
In the same way that a focus on an individual driver for teams can start the culture change process – the same is true for the organisation as a whole. To change the culture for an organisation however must be led from the top and driven by senior managers in a consistent way.
So how can you apply the Creatrix?
Well you have a choice –
- Call in a Creatrix Coach to work with your organisation OR
- Get certificated to use the Creatrix with your teams or clients