Create the Conditions for Creativity

Good management cannot be achieved through “business administration” alone. A high degree of market-oriented creativity is needed on top, especially in dynamic, complex environments. It is not always easy to gather creative ideas, but there are proven creativity techniques.

Some organizations are incapable of recognizing opportunities that really take them further, and incapable of consistently adapting to them. This inability results from executives and employees becoming mentally trapped in their profession after a period of time. They move exclusively in their industry environment and see everything from the perspective of their company and their position. Often, there is a lack of impulses from outside that challenge acquired thought patterns and stimulate new mental approaches. Many executives are unfamiliar with common creativity techniques that can help them overcome their mental barriers. After all, in addition to their day-to-day business, executives often take too little time to reflect on their actions and think about something truly new. With increasing pressure, the view of executives narrows; entrenched patterns of action then become even more entrenched and the organization tenses up until it becomes incapable of action.

Even the exchange within industry associations is not suitable for relieving such tensions, since all the members organized there deal with the same subject matter. After all, many people are not used to setting about solving a task without explicitly knowing what exactly to do and how. But that is precisely the challenge when faced with problems for which no solution is initially obvious. Thus, coming up with creative solutions is not the only learning process; even engaging in creative thinking is a learning process that should not be underestimated.

Even the Romans knew: ex nihilo nihil fit (nothing comes from nothing). Thus, creativity does not arise out of a vacuum; creativity requires the ability to see what exists and to recognize possibilities to connect it with current issues. Ernst Pöppel describes creativity as “a linking of the already existing with new or also old memory contents”.

Some companies separate creative teams from their core business to allow the creative people to experiment undisturbed. This has the advantage that ideas are not immediately opposed by “maintainers.” As a rule, such teams are deliberately formed from people who do not know the core business well. As a result, they think in a more unbiased, creative way. However, such creative or incubation units, also called “think tanks,” sometimes develop too far away from the core business. If there is a lack of cohesion, it is difficult to transfer the ideas to the operational business and they “starve to death.” To enable networking, relevance and feasibility, some companies use “bridge builders” between the creative and the operational people.

Good management is not the same as “business administration.” It results from combining the quality of creative ideas with the core business. The ability to generate creative ideas and make good decisions depends above all on the people themselves. Curiosity, interest and the will to learn and create something new are essential prerequisites. In addition, a certain freedom from fear helps people to think beyond established patterns and norms and to recognize what is transferable in other disciplines. To do this, managers, like all people, need impulses from the outside to take their thinking further. You are certainly familiar with this: Sometimes a critical question and sometimes a relevant hint is enough to break down thought patterns. To do this, you have to break open world views, conventions, labels and paradigms that have been shared and undiscussed up to now. Try to mentally break out of such paths.

It is often enough to direct your gaze to something completely different. Visits to companies in other industries, such as those made possible through chambers of industry and commerce, marketing clubs or cross-industry business associations, can certainly provide valuable ideas. But relaxation phases are also important sources of creativity. For this purpose, extended weekends are a good idea, during which you can do completely different things in order to get away from your daily business routine. With this distance, many things subsequently have a completely different effect, the horizon expands and worthwhile opportunities for change are perceived more readily.

Finally, suitable framework conditions must be in place for creative work. To be creative, people need both appreciation and freedom. They must be allowed to try things out and occasionally depart from predefined forms and paths, right across all hierarchical levels. Create an atmosphere in your company that promotes creativity.


What are your challenges?

Restart Dialogue