What do creativity managers do?
Replace the word management with the word optimisation.
That’s what creativity managers do: they optimise the quality of the idea pool (creativity) and the implementation process (innovation).
There are many methods of optimisation and the creativity leader must be aware of all of them, in other words, he or she must synthesise them for optimal effect.
Areas [within creativity] that need managing include motivation, organisational culture, organisational structure, incremental versus radical effects and processes, knowledge mix, group structures, goals, process and valuation.
Areas [within innovation] that need managing include idea selection, development / prototyping and the art of commercialisation.
It is worth noting that 4000 good ideas result in 4 development programs, which in turn results in 1 winner.
Radical Disruption and Steady State Continuity
We are constantly searching for the radical disruptive leap, the big bang, the disruptive technology. However, very little is often noted about the value of steady state continuity.
After an idea has been successfully commercialized, one critical element of continued success is continued steady state investment in the idea and incremental change that leads to radical shifts.
However, at the same time it should be noted that a successful idea will reach maturity and a newer radical idea will take it’s place. This can be noted using the example of Microsoft versus Google at around 2006, where Microsoft’s business model was challenged by software delivered as a service on Google’s platform.
Thus successful idea management requires decision-makers to simultaneously manage their existing idea in a steady-state fashion and a keep investing in new ideas to prevent the other guy from attaining competitive advantage.
Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. His specialities include Knowledge Management and Creativity and Innovation Management. 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 at http://managing-creativity.com/
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