Innovation or creativity is not just for Michelangelos, Einsteins, Mozarts and Tagores. It is also vital for modern managers or business leaders. In the business world it is now widely accepted that innovation is the golden key to the future. Innovation enhances the problem solving ability of the managers, promotes productivity and increases effectiveness. So, without innovation the future of any company and the concerned economy will be gloomy.
Even though there is no single mold into which all creative or innovative managers fit, there are some distinct personality patterns and cognitive skills by which they can be well identified. Scholars believe that everybody has creative ability, which is very strongly present at childhood. Our education system is such that as we grow up we are chained and these creative abilities get submerged with other abilities.
A manager can substantially increase his creative capacities and performance by cultivating the characteristics, which can become part and parcel of his personality make up. Following are regarded as the major characteristics of the creative people:
§ Self esteem and self-confidence
§ Originality in seeing and defining problems
§ Going beyond traditional boundaries for networking
§ Willingness to work at the edge of the known competencies and withstand setbacks
§ Objectivity to accept intelligent criticism and diverse viewpoints.
§ Reality as well as aesthetic orientation.
§ Inner urge or Motivation from within
To be a fully functional innovative manager an individual needs to increase his self-knowledge, awareness of his real needs, wishes, values and the way he perceives his environment. Also he should have to determine the actual skills which would be most suitable for him.
Theodore Leavitt rightly says, ' In a competitive world getting and keeping customers require innovation. Since some others will always serve people better, you have to try to better yourself. That requires innovative attitudes in all things making products better, manufacturing them better and cheaper, improving dealings with customers and suppliers, improving effectiveness in business'. The legendary American business leader Lee Iacocca rightly says, 'Change, change, change. That's what makes business fascinating'. But in order to have effective and innovative change companies should have leaders with vision and creativity.
Now what is creative or innovative in management? High speed management which was invented to accommodate the rapid changes in high-tech projects, technology and product life cycles, Management By Objectives. Just in Time Manufacturing, Zero-Based Budgeting, Swap financing, Omni marketing, E-Commerceall these are examples of creative and innovative management.
Today high tech inventions and innovations are coming up at a pace we can hardly keep up with. New products are being born in the fields of telecom, biogenetic engineering, alternative energy and of course computers. Now, with the speed of innovation in the field of technology management should also proceed fast and be compatible. Compaq, Digital, Apple, IBM and GM are among top US companies that have imported new management models first tested in Europe.
It is widely believed that large companies cannot be innovative. This is not always true. Merck, Citibank and 3M are bright examples of highly innovative corporate giants. The innovative companies run differently from typical business. The major traits of innovative organizations as identified by Management Guru Peter Drucker are as follows:
§ Innovative organization should understand that ideas are like babies with promise and they should be nurtured properly. We must know that people with ideas think through the work needed to turn an idea into a product, a process or a technology.
§ They know that innovation is not only a term of the scientist or technologist. It is also a term of business persons, for innovation means the creation of new value and new satisfaction for the customer.
§ They know that money does not produce innovation but people do.
§ Innovative companies know that the largest market for a successful idea is usually unexpected e.g. computers were created for defense use but now widely used by business.
Innovation focuses on people, rather the things they create, because it is still the personal spark of creativity that kindles the way to the future. Some companies like Xerox, FedEx etc are ignoring organization charts in favor of ever-changing problem solving assignment based teams, projects and alliances. The goal is unleashing employee creativity. Such companies are nowadays called adaptive organizations, which are flexible to take the ever-changing future.
(BUET) with MBA (IBA) and MS (USA). Email: email@example.com