Creativity: the new competitive advantage
In an era in which innovation takes place on every dimension surrounding us, in which technology is improving faster than ever, creativity has become more important than ever before. As times are changing, and businesses are changing, new competitive advantage needs to be generated. Creativity is no longer only associated with the arts, but is in fact becoming a necessary skill for organisations to stand out from the crowd.
Creativity increases resilience
The ability to effectively and efficiently enact change within an organisation has become crucial in our times. The economy is changing, consumers are changing, technology is changing: change is happening all around us, and organisations must adapt in order to survive. As a matter of fact, change management capabilities are closely related to creativity: organisations that nurture out-of-the-box thinking and encourage experimentation tend to be more resilient.
Firstly, companies that encourage the creation of novel ideas tend to have a decresed level of resistance to change, as the actors involved know the importance of doing things differently and tend to take more risks.
Secondly, creative companies stress the importance of collaboration and team-work, because creativity is often a collective process. Consequently, it is easier to “create a guiding coalition” to enact the change, as Kotter names it in his 8-step change model.
Through storytelling and other creative tools, and due to the importance of collaboration in creative organisations, it becomes easier to develop and communicate a shared vision and get people excited about the change.
Creativity generates innovation
While creativity is about generating novel ideas, innovation is about putting those ideas into practice. It comes almost naturally to say that creative companies are also more innovative: they challenge the paradigm by carefully designing every process, from the core of the organisation, to the end product.
As a consequence, these are the companies that are driving changes in the industry and create what Pine and Gilmore call “the experience economy”. Creative practices such as design thinking and human centered design put a strong emphasis on problem solving through innovative ideas, generating a memorable customer journey and developing products and services that solve a specific problem and create real meaning and value to the customer.
Creating a compelling customer experience is one focus of creative companies. Yet, in order to succeed, the companies themselves must create jobs that increase employees’ levels of commitment. Needless to say, an improved organisational performance leads to a higher chance to achieve the organisation’s strategic goals. Consequently, creative organisations are redesigning the traditional job by creating a challenging experience by encouraging collaboration, by focusing on creating a shared purpose and a narrative around it and by focusing on the employees’ needs.
Creativity has become an attractive topic for business research nowadays, and more tools, theories and frameworks are being developed in order to assist the strategic mind to think outside the box and do things differently. A plan for future articles is to discuss and understand how to use them in the real world.
Until then, stay tuned and feel free to write down your thoughts and comments!