Bengt Jrrehult, the KM Director for Swedish paper & packaging company Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget, has come up with a model for creativity that synthesizes some of the more analytical approaches with some more right-brain approaches like those in Creativity Inc, by Jeff Mauzy & Richard Harriman, and Presence, the book by Senge et al that I recently reviewed.
Creativity Inc outlines creativity practices that entail learning new competencies, establishing a facilitating environment, and offering creativity programs. The keys to creativity, its authors say, are intrinsic motivation, curiosity, making and breaking connections, and honest idea evaluation.
Bengt explains his cycle, diagrammed above, as follows:
Not coincidentally, there is a lot of the ‘suspending’ and ‘letting go’ elements of the Presence model in Bengt’s model. This is a personal creative process. Now let’s put it together with the organizational creative and innovation process we developed for AHA!:
So, to reiterate Bengt’s personal creativity cycle, we, as individuals, (1) draw inspiration, (2) exercise personal courage, (3) break connections, (4) open ourselves to input from without and within, (5) draw on intuition, emotional intelligence and rational intellect to create new connections, and (6) feel the reward — the joy that this creative process gives us (outer circles of this chart).
Creative organizations invite us to apply this creative process to organizational creative and innovative tasks. In organizational creative work, we collectively (a) learn, (b) listen/observe, (c) explore, (d) understand, (e) organize, (f) imagine, (g) reach out, and (h) brainstorm (leftmost 8 boxes of the inner circle of this chart). In organizational innovation work, we collectively (i) canvass the ‘crowd’ for confirmation that our ideas meet a genuine need, (j) design, (k) experiment, (l) question/challenge, and (m) realize the idea into a successful offering (rightmost 5 boxes of inner circle of this chart). All six elements of individual creativity in Bengt’s model are applied in all 13 aspects of the organizational creative and innovation process.
These are both cycles, and ideas and actions pass through their intersections and give them momentum dynamically, much as electrons are exchanged in chemical reactions. For example, you might be reading about a new type of plastic that dissolves inertly in water, and later about the problems with sorting and recycling of packaging materials (individual creativity cycle step 4). You connect the two learnings together (step 5), and get excited about the possibilities (step 6). You are inspired (step 1) to invent a packaging material that can safely be washed down the sink. You overcome the fear of being thought foolish for such a radical idea, the fear that someone has probably already patented it, the fear that nothing plastic can really ever be harmless to the environment (step 2), and are propelled by your courage to start thinking boldly about the possible applications of such a technology in all kinds of packaging (step 3).
At any point in this personal cycle, you may be drawn into, or create, an organizational group that can explore this idea and do what needs to be done to bring it to fruition. It might start with learning from a business colleague more about plastics, and sharing what you know so far (step a), or a casual brainstorming with trusted colleagues over lunch (step h). Someone in the organization may hear about your exploration and authorize a group to explore it (step b), or to design a prototype (step j & k). The personal creative cycle can thus intersect with and be propelled by the organizational creative and innovation cycle at almost any point, and vice versa.
Some of the articles I have been reading lately (notably this one by innovation guru Michael Schrage suggest that there may be three more steps in the innovation cycle between (i) canvass and (j) design:
That would increase to 16 the number of steps in the group/organizational cycle. I welcome comments from readers on this revision to our model, and how to integrate it with Bengt’s in a graphic way that is not overwhelming to understand.
Why is there so little innovation in most organizations today, when there is so much creative talent and so many ideas and so much information floating around? My hypothesis:
Organizations rarely invite people to apply their personal creativity to organizational challenges, so the available ideas and talent are largely unused and eventually dry up. This is because most organizations (a) are not set up to tap this talent, (b) don’t really trust most of their employees to be able to apply their creative abilities and imagination in a productive, effective way, and (c) are averse to true innovation, as Christensen explains, because their intense focus on customers discourages them from doing anything different from what has satisfied customers to date — i.e. what they’re already doing today.
Organizations are not stupid. They have achieved success by effectively meeting customers’ needs. They are not motivated to change what they’re doing until something averse happens — dropping revenues due to a competitor’s disruptive innovation or a dramatic change in the economy, buying criteria or demographics. Too often, by the time this happens it is too late.
Successful organizations should be anticipating such averse events and bringing either sustaining innovations or disruptive innovations of their own to preempt such events. They should be putting in place an environment that encourages their employees and others (including customers) to apply their personal creative skills to help in that effort. And they should trust their employees and customers to be a vital force in the organization’s innovation efforts, and put in place programs to demonstrate that trust and tap that creative talent.
Failure to do so represents not only a squandered opportunity and a waste of talent, but also guarantees that most of your employees will be bored, disengaged and disinterested in the organization’s success beyond their own personal interest, and likewise guarantees a largely indifferent and unloyal customer base.
Other Writers About CollapseAlbert Bates (US)
Carolyn Baker (US)*
David Petraitis (US)
Derrick Jensen (US)
Dmitry Orlov (US)
Doing It Ourselves (AU)
Dougald & Paul (UK)*
Gail Tverberg (US)
Guy McPherson (US)
Ilargi & Nicole (CA)*
Janaia & Robin (US)*
Jim Kunstler (US)
John Michael Greer (US)
Kari McGregor (AU)
Keith Farnish (UK)
NTHE Love (UK)
Paul Chefurka (CA)
Paul Heft (US)*
Post Carbon Inst. (US)
Sam Rose (US)*
Tim Bennett (US)
Umair Haque (US)
Archive by Category
My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 80 Posts --
Preparing for Civilization's End:
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
Community-Based Resilience Framework (Poster)
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
Giving Up on Environmentalism
What Happened When the Oil Ran Out
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
The Boiling Frog
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
If We Had a Better Story
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Systems Thinking & Complexity 101
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self:
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
All the Things I Thought I Knew (Short Story)
On the Shoulders of Giants (Short Story)
Calling the Cage Freedom (Short Story)
The Other Extinction (Short Story)
Disruption (Short Story)
A Thought-Less Experiment (Poem)
Speaking Grosbeak (Short Story)
The Only Way There (Short Story)
The Wild Man (Short Story)
Flywheel (Short Story)
The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
The Horses' Bodies (Poem)
Distracted (Short Story)
Worse, Still (Poem)
A Conversation (Short Story)
Farewell to Albion (Poem)
My Other Sites
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.