First, the numbers from Kyung Hee Kim of the College of William & Mary, who analyzed creativity-test scores for almost 300,000 adults and children:
- Americans' scores on measures of idea quality fell 3.7% from 1990 to 2008.
- Scores fell 7% on idea quantity during the same period.
So companies that can up their creativity quotient stand to benefit. This has always been true of course, but in the future -- should this trend persist in the US -- creativity will give organizations that have it a decided competitive advantage in world markets.
How does a company promote creativity? And more importantly, how can it foster collaborative creativity? Two years ago Harvard Business Review wrote what I thought was a groundbreaking look at how Pixar, Steve Jobs' house of animation, fosters creativity within its walls. Here are three tips from that piece:
- Place the creative authority for product development in the hands of the project leaders, not corporate executives.
- Build a culture and processes that encourage people to share their work-in-progress and support each other as peers.
- Break down organizational units, hierarchies and fiefdoms that divide disciplines.
How creative is your organization? What do you do to foster innovation?