UK companies urged to tap into creative strategies

A report produced by Britain’s top managers has warned that lack of a can-do mentality and aversion to risk in UK organisations are preventing them from tapping into employees’ creativity.

According to the data two thirds of executives believe creativity is key to gaining and sustaining competitive advantage in today’s global business environment. Yet many work in cultures that stifle creativity.

The findings are published in the report, Harnessing Creativity to Improve the Bottom-Line, commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Management (CIMA), the IM and four other bodies, as part of Global Business Management Week 2001.

Mary Chapman, Director General of the Institute of Management, said: “In today’s economic climate, organisations are seeking ways to add value and differentiate themselves from global competitors. The ability to innovate is a vital element in achieving success. Top teams need to take the lead in creating the right environment and work with managers to ensure they are equipped with the skills to harness the creativity of heir people.”

In the report executives said that many organisational structures do not create the right environment for creativity. Of the executives polled, half said that the focus was on delivering results quickly and cited insufficient time and space to think creatively. Nearly four out of ten thought that lack of coherent vision on creativity prevented organisations being more creative.

The research highlighted three main characteristics in workplace culture which managers said hampered creativity:

  • Lack of a can-do mentality

  • Tribalism syndrome

  • Risk aversion

However, good news from the report was that organisations seeking to promote creativity could adopt three types of business practice. These involve adopting the right values, integrating them into systems and motivating employees to adopt the values until they became an accepted part of everyday business.

Managers said that organisations should actively develop strategies to encourage individuals to channel their creativity. These include: presenting the opportunity to provide open and honest feedback; giving individuals the chance to perform against stretching goals; offering appropriate rewards and recognition for success, and being prepared to accept experimentation with a tolerance of mistakes. (SP)

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