Creative Transformation: Setting the Stage for Workplace Creativity and Innovation

Creative Transformation: Setting the Stage for Workplace Creativity and Innovation

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4952-9.ch006
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Creative transformation is the term associated with the necessary change for the workplace to develop and support creative thinking, which leads to innovation. Managing the intricacies of any workplace is a delicate balance. The issue is keeping the workflow efficiently moving forward while simultaneously providing an environment that encourages creativity and innovation. Complacency and comfort with “tried and true” methods constitute a path of least resistance, which may partially explain why change in any environment is so difficult. Ultimately, it is time for a new era in the workplace- an era of creativity that will redefine how organizations function. Creativity is a bigger predictor of success in life and work than many other factors, even intelligence and can be learned and nurtured when supported in the workplace. Creativity is the new literacy and it is time for the workplace to reflect that.
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Introduction: A Tale Of Corporate Thinking

Every day, a small Ant arrived at work early and starting work immediately, she produced a lot and she was happy. The boss, a lion, was surprised to see that the ant was working without supervision. He thought if the ant can produce so much without supervision, wouldn’t she produce more if she had a supervisor!

So the lion recruited a cockroach who had extensive experience as a supervisor and who was famous for writing excellent reports. The cockroach’s first decision was to set up a clocking in attendance system. He also needed a secretary to help him write and type his reports. He recruited a spider who managed the archives and monitored all phone calls.

The Lion was delighted with the cockroach’s report and asked him to produce graphs to describe production rates and analyze trends so that he could use them for presentations at board meetings. So the cockroach had to buy a new computer and a laser printer and recruit a fly to manage the IT department. The Ant, who had been once so productive and relaxed, hated this new plethora of paperwork and meetings, which used up most of her time.

The lion came to the conclusion that it was high time to nominate a person in charge of the department where the ant worked. The position was given to the Cicada whose first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for his office. The new person in charge, the cicada, also needed a computer and a personal assistant, whom he had brought from his previous department to help him prepare a work and budget control strategic optimization plan.

The department where the ant works is now a sad place, where nobody laughs anymore and everybody has become upset. It was at that time the cicada convinced the boss, the Lion, to start a climatic study of the office environment. Having reviewed the charges of running the ant’s department, the lion found out that the production was much less than before so he recruited the Owl, a prestigious and renowned consultant to carry out an audit and suggest solutions. The Owl spent 3 months in the department and came out with an enormous report, in several volumes, that concluded that “The Department is overstaffed.”

Guess who the lion fired first?

The Ant, of course, “Because she showed lack of motivation and had a negative attitude.” - (Noone, 2010).

The above fable portrays the traditional organizational structure found in many workplaces. Often larger organizations rely heavily on routines, procedures and processes which have delivered success in the past. While the traditional approaches to organizational structure may seem important, the bottom line is how the work environment influences the productivity of the actual worker. Many organizations claim they want a more creative and innovative workplace yet continue to provide a traditional working environment. In order to stimulate creativity, employers must first create a great work place environment where employees are encouraged to contribute. Attention must be paid to whether the employees like their workplace and how the environment supports creativity.

There are multiple perspectives on the creative environment, yet there is limited research available. This chapter addresses the workplace environment and components that influence creativity to foster innovation. According to Hoff (2014) traditional creativity models often address what is called the four P- components: the creative person(s), the creative process, the creative product and the creative place. The environment of the workplace, or the creative place, is vital for developing and supporting creative work. Workplace transformation results in increased employee engagement and ultimately, competitive advantage for the organization (Cher, 2015). The authors believe that there are several opportunities for creative workplace transformation and that reward systems must be varied to support the workers in any organization for innovation to occur. This chapter will focus on the creative support systems through workplace transformation.

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