BI Norwegian Business School’s Øyvind Martinsen identified components of creative personalities as key attributes for innovative problem solving in business organizations.
Martinsen’s study of 481 people included two groups of students in creative fields: advertising and performing artists, and a control group of lecturers and managers.
He found that creative individuals differed from the control groups in several dimensions:
- Have an active imagination, “associative orientation”, an “experimental attitude”
- Value originality, are comfortable rebelling against rules, standards, and systems
- Demonstrate high motivation to succeed
- Become absorbed in creative work
- Are ambitious: Desire recognition, fame
- Adapt, reimagine, rebrand, and flex to meet current demands and realities
- Express anxiety, worry, volatile emotions
- Demonstrate less concern, friendliness and sensitivity to others
- Tend to be more critical of others
Martinsen says that a less creative individuals can increase this capacity when their work environments encourage rule-bending and free thought, so organizations can modify policies and practices to convey acceptance of exploration.
Employees are often urged to take chances by innovating solutions, but sometimes these incubation efforts may not result in a commercial success — and organizations may not “forgive” the investment of time and money in speculative efforts.
University of Washington’s Ryan Fehr with Michele Gelfand of University of Maryland suggest that organizations should establish the conditions for innovation and for accepting that experimentation may provide “lessons learned” even when efforts cannot be brought to market.
Their research investigated “forgiving organizations” that expand the individual practice of workplace compassion and mindfulness to an institutional level.
Fehr and Gelfand propose a “sensemaking” organizational model based on restorative justice, temperance, and compassion to cultivate the climate of fearless innovation and confident exploration in high-support organizations, which benefit from process and product breakthroughs and related financial rewards.
Matthew May explored a multi-faced exemplar of innovation, Shibumi, imperfectly defined as “effortless effectiveness”, simply-expressed complexity, flawed perfection.
Shibumi shares some qualities with Baldassare Castiglione’s idea of “sprezzatura,” or making “whatever one does or says seem effortless, and almost unpremeditate,” Shibumi, says May, is typically achieved through an innovation-change management sequence of:
Film scholar Rodney William Whitaker, who wrote under the pseudonym Trevanian, opined that “Shibumi has to do with great refinement underlying commonplace appearances,” and architect Sarah Susanka observed that “…shibumi evolves out of a process of complexity, though none of this complexity shows in the result…to meet a particular design challenge.”
May illustrated examples of familiar Japanese management principles including Hoshin (goal alignment) and Kaizen (continuous improvement), with less familiar principles:
- Kata (patterns of effective behavior)
- Genchi genbutsu (observation)
- Hansei (reflection).
Innovation and creative problem-solving in any field can benefit from attention to Shibumi’s seven principles:
- Austerity – Less is more
“Koko” suggests restraint, sparseness, and intentional omission, and ‘Is/isn’t analysis” provides the focus and clarity to exclude elements beyond a designated scope
Antoine de Saint Exupery captured this principle in his view that “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
In another book, May offered 4 Ss of “elegant”, innovative, and austere solutions:
- “Symmetry” to help solve problems of structure, order, and aesthetics
- “Seduction” for creative engagement
- “Subtraction” for problems of economy
- “Sustainability” for a process or solution that is both repeatable and lasting
“Kanso” signals the “enoughness” of streamlined utility, based on prioritization, understatement, and order for the central purpose.
“Shizen” points to the paradox of intentional artlessness, or balancing nature’s randomness and patterns with intentional curation.
“Yugen” refers to the tension between stagnation of precision in contrast with nature’s growth.
One example is Steve Jobs building anticipation through restrained information release.
- Asymmetric Imperfection
Fukinsei points to the symmetry of nature through its counterpoint: Asymmetrical and incomplete representations that encourage the viewer’s participation to “complete the incomplete.”
Gestalt researchers and artists demonstrated increased visual impact when participants co-create and collaborate in the innovation effort.
- Change Routine Thinking and Actions
Datsuzoku suggests a break from routine, such as adopting free-spirited Carnival demeanor at the annual masked Fasching in German-speaking countries.
Breaking patterns enables breakthrough innovation and creative resourcefulness.
- Active Stillness, Dynamic Tranquility
Seijaku is serenity in the midst of activity and provides context of datsuzoku, transcendence of conventional ideas and traditional usage, leading to surprise, astonishment, and freedom to create.
“Doing nothing” in mindfulness practice can be provide unconscious incubation for eventual creative syntheses to solve complex design issues, and increase self-awareness, focus, and attention.
Individuals who wish to become more creative even in more confining organizations have reported success by adopting mindfulness meditation based on conscious breathing.
In addition mindfulness practice can enhance resilience to accept critique in the creative process.
-*How do you establish the individual and organizational conditions for innovations?
-*How do organizations become “forgiving”?
- Effective Questions as Change and Innovation Catalyst
- How and Who of Innovation
- Crash Course on Innovation, Creativity
- Two Models of Business Innovation, Courtesy of Two Kaplans
- New Questions, “Senses” for Innovative Thinking and Problem-Solving
- Design Thinking to Address Social and Business Problems
Blog – Kathryn Welds |Curated Research and Commentary
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)