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Business Innovation – the Value of Role Play


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Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation whilst innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialisation.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as consisting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialisation. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercialising those ideas will not be wasted.

the value of Role Play

One of the useful concepts in Creativity Management is the use of role play. The basis of this is an awareness of archetypes – stereotypical characters such as Mentor, Goddess, Hippy and the Guru etc. Jung argues that archetypes are universal and come through most strongly in our dreams. Mask and Trance studies show that when we put on a mask, we take on the characteristics of what we perceive that mask (or associated individual) to represent.

In a study in the British Journal of Psychology, businessmen scored low on creativity when they were asked to be themselves, but scored much higher when asked to pretend they were happy-go-lucky hippies.

Masks remove the evaluation apprehension that is associated with block. Wearing masks allows individuals to generate otherwise unoriginal or unintelligent ideas because “it is not them” that is doing it.

Role play – pretending how a mentor, sailor, guru or other would answer a question – allows the individual to tap into a rich source of subconscious tacit knowledge.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http://www.managing-creativity.com/

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Kal Bishop MBA, is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com/

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  • Posted On August 15, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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