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Posted by Steve Hughes on May 9, 2011

…. helps artists die young, miserable and penniless so their art can have meaning to the old, satisfied and obscenely rich.

So says my Demotivators Calendar for the merry month of May.

For organisations, creativity as a “one-man show” is a harmful myth according to this recent article in People Management, the monthly journal of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) – Organisational Learning: The Social Network

“HR has been obsessed with high-performing individuals for too long. The real engine of creativity and organisational success is to be found in internal networks of friendship and collaboration …

… countless examples demonstrate that the generation of creative ideas is mainly a collaborative process rather than merely an intrapersonal one …

… numerous empirical studies have also demonstrated that social network ties are of crucial importance for the generation of creative ideas and other key knowledge-related activities…”

The article advocates putting emphasis in the management of creativity primarily on collaborative relationships between creative individuals. Why is this important to HR professionals? Creativity contributes to new products and services and therefore helps the organisation achieve sustainable competitive advantage, and  creativity is genuinely a people business. In short, HR can demonstrate the value of nurturing an organisational climate in which peer-to-peer relationships can flourish.

Looks like my calendar needs a new tag line.

4 Responses to “Creativity…”

  1. Steve Richards said

    How quickly we all jump on the bandwagon of new terms – ‘social networking’ seems to be the answer to everything these days and everything is better for it. Once upon a time it was just people working together, ‘collaborating’. Now, it seems that ‘social networking’ is the only way that people interrelate. And yet I don’t see much creativity, in a business sense, from the social side of networking. I do, however, see creativity when people get together, stimulate each other’s minds and challenge the commonly held boundaries and beliefs. This is not new stuff, it has been around for stages. Why do we have to keep reinventing and assigning the latest labels to these things?

  2. Meg Bear said

    You had me at demotivator calendar! I totally subscribe to the premise that creativity and innovation are inherently team sports. The trick is that you get the right network to help bring out these core abilities in yourself.

    “Right” in this context, is entirely specific to you, which is what makes the idea of collaboration so interesting.


  3. Thank you for the stimulating comments. My starting position is as an Enterprise 2.0 sceptic and it is unfortunate in some ways that the article uses the term social network, as I think it does talk about good old fashioned collaboration and HR’s role in fostering “strategically encouraged informality”.
    I think we keep reinventing and assigning new labels to things in this context for a number of reasons. We forget things (more and more I find these days), those who do not learn from history and all that. We re-examine existing methods in the light of new ideas or new technologies that facilitate improvements. And we synthesise existing things into something new and different through a creative leap. Having the “right” network is important for all of these I think.
    Of course we also re-package the same old stuff with a new label and great marketing sometimes.

  4. Paul said

    I always found that creative ideas only come about through accident, or by combining existing ideas. Given this theory, it makes sense that you get more creative ideas through collaboration. I recently had a great discussion with somebody in Mexico I found via Twitter. This social networking tool expands my ability to collaborate.

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