How to create a nurturing ecosystem for creativity in your organisation

By : |December 9, 2013 0

Nupur Chaturvedi

NEW DELHI, INDIA:What comes to mind when you think of creativity? Design, art, innovative gadgets, juicy-looking apps? What makes some organisations come up with more successful innovations than the others? What do they do differently? How does an organisation create an environment that encourages creativity?

These and other questions relating to nurturing creativity in the organisation were addressed in the first webinar of the Lead for Change webinar series organised by CIOL.com and PCQuest, in association with The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau.

The webinar had Anil Chopra, Senior Editor, CIOL.com and PCQuest, in conversation with serial entrepreneur, innovator and Country Head Rovio/Angry Birds, Antti Ohrling. The session saw a turnout of around 45 decision makers from various companies. The conversation threw up some really interesting insights, with Antti citing examples from all over the world, including those from Rovio, on what organisations need if they want to come up with cutting-edge ideas and solutions.

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On what it takes to create a game like Angry Birds
Millions of downloads, several versions, and seemingly unending success-that is what we know about Angry Birds. What we don’t know is that Rovio struggled with 51 games before they hit the jackpot with the Angry Birds. The team at Rovio, said Antti, wasn’t just creative. It was also a team that persevered with relentless diligence. Antti stressed that creativity can happen in a second, but what it takes to convert an idea into reality needs patience, perseverance and really hard work. It also needs to have the courage to learn from your mistakes and keep going back to the drawing board to see how to make it work better and better every time.

On creativity vs established processes
Most people associate creative people with shabby clothes, weird hairstyles and an attitude to go with it. And therefore, they think creativity and established processes cannot go hand in hand. Antti agreed that processes are important for any organisation to bring order to the way people work. However, he said, processes must be challenged from time to time. They may have been formulated in the best way at the time, but with time, circumstances, requirements and growth drivers may change, and processes should also evolve with them. That doesn’t mean you don’t adhere to processes. It means you must keep applying creativity to find out better ways to do things.

On creativity vs security
Antti agreed that these two appear to be at the opposite ends of the spectrum and in today’s world, most companies tend to put security ahead of everything else. However, organisations must realize that if they let security override creativity all the time, they run the danger of becoming obsolete-because someone else outside was creative and rendered their product or solution useless. Look what happened with Kodak.

However, said Antti, it also brings us to another important point. Creativity can’t be for its own sake-you must have an objective for it. Antti quoted advertising guru David Ogilvy, who said, “Give me the freedom of a very tight brief.” And once you have that brief, you can put creativity to use to come up with solutions. You can approach the problem from different directions but ultimately it has to start from a very tight brief.

On bringing people to your side
Even that needs a creative approach, said Antti. There must be creativity in the way you sell your idea to others within the organisation. You have to understand what makes the organisation tick and why are things done in a certain way. It is not enough to find something new, you have to make people believe in it and in the benefits it brings with it. That is also a part of the creative process. And you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You can get a team together, said Antti, where some people develop the idea and others sell it.

After the session, the webinar audience was brimming with questions for Antti, who answered most of them. The answers to these questions, and others that time didn’t permit Antti to answer, will all be shared soon on our website as well as on CIOL.com and The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau. Watch this space for more on the Lead for Change series!

The writer is partner, The Outstanding Speakers’ Bureau.

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