It is difficult to know how you are doing in your particular profession when you are working in creativity and innovation. Creativity in whatever endeavour or context is ruled by small continual loops of perception, judgment and reflection. It is not until you create a body of work in whatever practice or context over a period of time that you, as a creator, gain distance from your work. Even then you begin to wonder whether the work has any immediate or long term value or has made meaningful connections or sense with or for others. As a creator, it is not you who judges the effectiveness and quality of your work, it’s others. So, against this backdrop, it was very nice to suddenly be approached by IBM saying I had been selected to be one of the 100 IBM Global Creative Leaders and would I be happy to participate in their on going global study on human capital management coming off the back of their 2010 Global CEO Global Study - Capitalising on Complexity: Creative Leadership is the Way To Go!
The Creative Leadership Forum
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Predicting the Outcomes of Creativity and Innovation in Organisations - Chairman's Message October 2010.
Our journey of discovering on this topic began almost two years ago when I wanted to try and assess the value of the creative leadership and creativity programmes we were delivering. The more I inquired the more it became apparent, answers were not easy or readily available. The major national research project “Is Australian management creative and innovative?” the Creative Leadership Forum completed in 2008 further complicated the issue when it revealed over 75% of managers said the creativity and innovation training they received was at best ineffectual, at worst a complete waste of time and money. Since 2008, I have had many conversations with senior leaders in organisations in which they were simply trying to define what innovation actually meant in the context of their organisations, before even starting to plan how to develop strategic thinking around the concept of creativity and innovation.
In the past decade, I have listened to many leaders across all sorts of industries and organisations dialogue about innovation but very rarely have I seen organisations actually embody and live the outcomes of these dialogues. Facilitated dialogues and workshops with the endorsement and often participation of company leaders introducing the strategy and tactics of innovation invariably leave participants highly enthused. Yet very often after a relative short period of time, organisations absorb this optimism and little changes. Leaders attest to the many difficulties associated with organisational innovation, not least of which are the political ramifications. Innovation is like a political movement, often polarising entrenched hierarchies, organisational elites and factions. Innovation favours ideators and implementers, those wanting to overthrow the status quo and get on with change, challenging anybody who stands in their way. How a leader handles this ebb and flow of unresolved organisational tension is crucial to the implementation of innovation.
Ted Buswick, co- editor of a special edition of the Journal of Business Strategy entitled "Creatively Intelligent Companies and Leaders: Arts-based Learning for Business” advises the publishers Emerald are offering a week of free online access to all the articles. There are some really well-researched articles on arts-based processes in business that have much to do with creative skills.
Take a look
Last week one of the world's truly great innovators passed away. Malcolm McLaren, the inventor of the punk movement. McLaren's life work was that of a Renaisance man, an ideas man who changed popular culture both as an entreprenuer and as an artiste. His journey of invention was often misunderstood by artists, academics and the industry in which he operated because he continually moved outside the norms to create new forms and new products that questioned the accepted practice of his peers. As a manager, he was not a traditional band manager. He interfered artistically. As an artist, he was held in deep suspicion by musicians and practicing artists alike because he was seen as an entrepreneur first, part of the profit making machine artists inherently mistrust. Even worse, he couldn't play a musical instrument using digital sampling technology to create his work way before it was the accepted norm.
If you contrast his first outing publicly as the manager of the Sex Pistols and the recognised founder of the punk movement; his mentoring of Adam Ant and Boy George; his subsequent breaking of world music into popular culture through Duck Rock recorded and filmed in Soweto before the breakdown of Apartheid in South Africa; his contemporising and popularising of opera through Puccini's Madame Butterfly and his final album Paris containing a beautiful and romantic duet with Catherine Deneuve - Paris, Paris, you can see the emergence of the archetypical digital entrepreneur for the 21st century and the associated artistic and business model. He paved the way for all those "punk" young creative garage based internet and software coders, hackers and would be entrepreneurs who broke rules because they could and found ways to make money out of doing that - think Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter. McLaren was like all great entrepreneurs, a racconteur who understood strategic thinking - what made McLaren stand out was his ability to recognise his strength as an ideator, to see "ideas" as an artform in itself and their manifestation being their successful implementation artistically and commercially. Like all great innovators, he failed regularly yet always restlessly sought the next new idea, forever honing his craft - whatever you may label that!!.
A man of our times and one of the modern world's great creative and cultural leaders!
Here is a link to a feature on Malcolm McLaren made in 1984