Culture is Key for Innovation and Creativity is the New Economy

The sun rises over the forest outside my window this morning. On-screen are messages from the magic 8-ball of the internet that support innovation and creativity and celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 -21 every year – so we can actively collaborate, leveraging our diversity to generate new ideas and make different decisions.

Culture is Key to Innovation explained through Booz and Company’s latest Innovation 1000 Report.

[box type=”shadow”]The elements that make up a truly innovative company are many: a focused innovation strategy, a winning overall business strategy, deep customer insight, great talent, and the right set of capabilities to achieve successful execution. More important than any of the individual elements, however, is the role played by corporate culture — the organization’s self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing — in tying them all together. Yet according to the results of this year’s Global Innovation 1000 study, only about half of all companies say their corporate culture robustly supports their innovation strategy. Moreover, about the same proportion say their innovation strategy is inadequately aligned with their overall corporate strategy.

This disconnect, as the saying goes, is both a problem and an opportunity. Our data shows that companies with unsupportive cultures and poor strategic alignment significantly underperform their competitors. Moreover, most executives understand what’s at stake and what matters, even if their companies don’t always seem to get it right. Across the board, for example, respondents identified “superior product performance” and “superior product quality” as their top strategic goals. And they asserted that their two most important cultural attributes were “strong identification with the consumer/customer experience” and a “passion/pride in products.”[/box] Article here

Creativity Is the New Economy says Richard Florida.  Data seals the deal on the value of creativity in everyone’s lives.

[box type=”shadow”]”America came into being during the Agricultural Age. In 1800, four in ten Americans held jobs in agriculture. This declined to about 20 percent by the middle of the nineteenth century and to roughly ten percent by the turn of the twentieth century. By the 1930s and 1940s, it had fallen to about five percent. It is less than one percent today.

The Industrial Age saw the United States rise to economic prominence. The share of the Working Class or what Marx dubbed “the proletariat” surged to more than sixty percent of the US workforce in the 1880s and it didn’t fall below 50 percent until the years immediately following World War II, when it began to decline steadily, falling to forty percent in 1970, thirty percent by 1990, and roughly twenty percent today. These blue-collar Working Class jobs include all blue-collar physical work, including construction, transportation and maintenance. Workers who directly produce things in factories account for just six percent of the workforce and are expected to decline even further over the next decade to around five percent, roughly equivalent to the level of Agricultural jobs during the last great crisis of the 1930s.

It’s common to say we are now living in a post-industrial information or knowledge economy. But the shift is actually deeper and more thorough-going than that. Marx said that what made the proletariat a universal and indeed revolutionary force was the fact that they shared a fundamental bond — the common physical labor that built bridges, buildings, railways, automobiles, and the like. But creativity makes for an even deeper bond. It is visible in every child. It is what distinguishes human beings from animals.

In his landmark book on economic progress from classical antiquity to the present, The Lever of Riches, the great economic historian Joel Mokyr distinguishes homo economicus, “who makes the most of what nature permits him to have” from the Promethean homo creativus, who “rebels against nature’s dictates.” And now creativity, “the ability to create meaningful new forms,” as The Random House Webster’s Dictionary puts it–has become both the driving force of economic progress and the decisive source of competitive advantage.” [/box] See the rest of his blogpost here.

Now what?  Think.  Ask questions, such as, In what ways might you enhance the capacity and openness to advance creativity and innovation where you are? Feel free to leverage World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 and to get in touch if you’d like a professional’s simple idea or two…

Marci Segal