CREATIVITY, REVITALIZE YOUR ORGANIZATION
We are at the vanguard of change in the Forest Service. A successful and smart organization will take advantage of these opportunities. Our organizational health will be dependent upon these new opportunities. But radical innovation won't be easy in the Forest Service. What kind of conditions do we need in the Forest Service to help create new and better ideas? Look around your office, are you supporting new thinking, are you taking a few risks, are you doing anything new and interesting? Do you decorate your cubicle with Dilbert cartoons? Just because you are tucked away in a corner cubicle or at some remote Ranger District does not mean that you should stop thinking. In fact, thinking outside the cubicle or outside your Ranger District may get you a chance to do something more creatively.
Thinking creatively can lead to the development of new ideas. If the Forest Service doesn't allow for some renegade thinking we will not succeed in this new century.
We need to develop a new creative mindset in our employees and see them unleash it and apply it in their jobs. We need to change our organization climate and reward employees for bright ideas. Just having a suggestion box in a break room, hallway or back closet doesn't cut it anymore. If the Forest Service doesn't provide a climate that is conducive to creative thinking, people may leave and go elsewhere.
But, we continue to bombard our people with the minutia, voice mail,e-mail, the hundreds of details at work, Internet information and everything else under the sun, our thoughts and ideas become disconnected.
Here are 20 ways to be more creative. There are lots of other ways to get your creative juices flowing, but these may help. Pick one and try it today!
1. Go for brainstorming walks with a friend.
2. Ask a child for an answer.
3. Exercise during lunch.
4. Wake up at 3:30 am and work for two hours.
5. Tape-record your ideas while driving to work.
6. Trust your instincts.
7. Talk to people in other occupations.
8. Write down your dreams upon waking.
9. Nap once in awhile.
10. Redesign your office.
11. Arrive to work early.
12. Read different books.
13. Decorate your walls with inspired quotes and cartoons.
14. Ask stupid questions.
15. Start an idea bank.
16. Experiment more.
17. Stay inspired.
18. Save time to be creative.
19. Test your limits often.
20. Stare out the window once in a while.
A creative climate is established by doing whatever you can with your current environment to shift your outlook. The material and resources you need to do this are actually all around you. The challenge is recognizing them. ó Mike Vance
Harvard Management Update, "What Happens To Innovation Now?" Editor, Pages 1-3, March 2001.
HR.com eBulletin, "Handling Resistance To Work/Life Initiatives," Rick Mauer, http://www.hr.com, January 18, 2001.
Executive Excellence, "Timeless Principles," John F. Welch, Pages 3-4, February 2001.
Training & Development, "How To Foster Creativity At Work," Ruth Palombo Weiss, Pages 61-65, February 2001.
Training, "The Lighter Side Of Learning," Kathleen McLaughlin, Pages 48-52, February 2001.
Handbook Of Creativity, Robert J. Sternberg, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 1999.
When you take action, you build momentum for courage. You can think and rethink until you overthink all the what-if's. Or you can take a step or two forward and get an entirely new perspective. When you take action, entirely new possibilities reveal themselves to you.
Does Your Organization Have Soul?
Successful companies have soul. They sincerely care about their employees' welfare, their success and the passions that motivate them. These companies understand that people are their most valuable asset and they treat them accordingly.
Blinq 2000 recently published a list distinguishing what comprises an organization with soul. Does your organization have soul?
- » They treat people as if they matter (because they do).
- » They recognize (and publicize) the achievements of employees.
- » They don't rely on formal policies to demonstrate compassion; it's simply part of their culture.
- » They enjoy greater employee, customer and vendor loyalty.
Immunize Against Natural Antibodies To Innovation
The rhetoric for most senior managers is that innovation is good. However, when it comes time to implement it, that's far different,said Richard Leifer, one of six co-authors of a new study on how game-changing innovation occurs in established organizations. "It oftentimes is expensive. It oftentimes requires a lot of personal support by the CEO to overcome the natural resistance. We call it the natural antibodies in the organization that help stamp out the radical innovation viruses. Those things happen at the mid and lower levels.
It takes a lot of personal support of a CEO." But CEO's are usually busy running the company, and innovation becomes a distraction. The solution, said Leifer, is to make innovation an organizational activity rather than an individual contribution. "It includes setting up a culture that encourages radical innovation, a reward system for doing it, organizational mechanisms, one of which we call a radical innovation hub." Such hubs?disruptive by definition?are comprised of market-savvy people whose job it is to go out to hunt and gather ideasfor breakthrough innovations. They fund the projects to a point where they can be demonstrated and evaluated for market viability; then they continue to oversee development as it evolves.
Radical Innovation: How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Upstarts
Harvard Business School Press
What Happens After the Idea Strikes
How many dozens of perfectly viable innovations have trickled into oblivion because someone along the line failed to figure out how to identify and capture the value in them? Plenty, say a pair of executives at Booz-Allen & Hamilton' Consumer and Health Practice. In fact, they say, the potential of innovation remains completely dormant "unless it is coupled with a business system that unleashes its disruptive energy?either by unsettling an existing industry or by creating a new one?and channels that energy into a value-capturing enterprise."
One essential phase in the development of that business system (and part of the fun?and dread?of being an innovator) is defining the rules of the game. Get that wrong and things can go mightily awry. JVC, for example, became a victor in the VCR format competition by combining open standards, lower costs and longer playing times. Sony, meanwhile, bet on its higher-quality, but proprietary Betamax technology. And Apple thought it owned the PC market and saw no reason to open its operating system to other "clone" manufacturers and developers. IBM, on the other hand, defined an open architecture and created cost efficiencies that rendered Apple's first-mover advantage almost worthless.
Finding Competitive Advantage In The Information Age
Strategy & Business
Some thoughts from a few Dreamers??
I don't think I've talked with any manager in the last few years that didn't express their desire to increase innovation and creativity in their organization. Some of these managers I know have even bragged about their efforts. However, I'm always suspicious when some gimmick is used to get employees to be more innovative. My pessimism is based on 20 plus years of experience in the Forest Service. Encouragement from many managers is at best just lip service. Most of our managers that I have been exposed too normally restrain the impulse to command-and-control, but most don't succeed very well. By the way, I am not trying to be negative, but tell you what it's really like. I do want to thank you for your efforts in keeping us focused on creativity.
I happened to receive a copy of Creativity Fringes from a friend and found your articles wonderful. It took me back because on my District we were attempting to bring up the same subjects with our District Ranger. You have inspired us to succeed in everything we do. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for what you've helped us attain.
I'm as crazy as I can be because I don't want the stress of the job to overtake my love for what I do in the Forest Service. I charge around with enthusiasm and supercharge what I do with humor. On those rare days when things don't go just right, the worst thing I can do is show anyone a dark side. Talk it up, chuckle it up, have fun and you'll be creative! Thanks a lot for Creativity Fringes.
If you are interested in learning more about creativity or wish to share any experiences, please contact Karl Mettke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank You For Taking Time To Be Creative?