Leadership: Creativity and Innovation
Leaders know in their gut that creativity and innovation are the life blood of their organization. New ideas can lead to programs that are superior to those that are already going on or planned in the organization and which would have been divested or never initiated had a better idea or program come along. So, the mission of every leader should be to search continually for ideas and programs that are superior to the ones the organization is currently committed to. In a word, it's called PROGRESS.
But what can the leaders do to promote creativity and innovation? The most obvious answer, short of hiring a new work force, is to use management initiatives that create a work environment that stimulates the existing staff to be more creative and innovative.
Creativity CAN Be Stimulated by Leaders
There are many who would challenge the implicit assumption that leaders can do anything to foster creativity.
They would argue that creative people, like baseball hitters, are born, not made. Indeed, much of the anecdotal literature about creativity would suggest that creativity is some mystical power that only a chosen few possess. But, then, why are all children creative?
Common Anecdotes about Creativity Are Wrong
People who have looked carefully at the creative process have learned that everyone of ordinary intelligence has latent creative abilities that can be enhanced by training and by a favorable environment. One recent book that is dedicated to defending this proposition is by D. N. Perkins, The Mind's Best Work. He finds that after-the-fact anecdotes about well-known examples of great leaps of creative thought have generally received little or no close scrutiny of the mental processes that led to them. There are too many opportunities for the real mental correlates of creativity to be lost...