Friday, November 10, 2017

Innovation and Creativity

Innovation and Creativity in the workplace does not get enough attention: especially in healthcare.  It may the rigidity of an organization, history, or just plain old misunderstanding.  What is Innovation anyway and what does Creativity have to so with it?  Plenty!

The business dictionary defines Innovation as "the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers are willing to pay" (  Does this definition sound familiar?  If not you must ask, is my company innovating?  are we creating new value?  In many cases the answer is a big fat NO.

By Innovation, I do not mean process improvement.  Process improvement is a good thing.  However, improving a process is only incremental change.  It is not innovative at all.  The process itself may be the wrong one in the first place.

If you desire to be innovative you must be able to encourage creativity.  Most Hospital and many other businesses are not creative for one very simple reason.  They do not make it OK for workers to be creative.  Brown (2008, 2010), Csikszentmihalyi (2004), and  Seligman (2004),  all discuss positive psychology, play, and flow as necessary elements of creativity.  In fact, Innovation cannot take place without creativity!

 Mihaly Chikszentmihalyi (pronounced, Me-Hi-Cheek-sent-me-hi) (you thought my last name was difficult) discusses the element of flow: "the notion of "flow" --a state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work" (2004).  You can see his talk on flow in his 2004 TED Talk.  I recommend it.   When I ask, "have you ever experienced flow"?, nine out of 10 people have a look on their face as if I asked them to pronounce 'Csikszentmihalyi'.  Most people in hospitals and business organizations have never heard of it, much less, being able to give an example!

Athletes experience flow.  We typically call this being "in the zone".  Let me ask, when was the last time you partook in art or play at your workplace?  I thought so. Never maybe? This is a concept that must be understood and ingrained in an organization which wants to creative and Innovative.  Visit Our Website for a few examples of Flow and Play in the workplace.

I am presenting a Webinar, April 10, 2018 via Wiederhold and Associates titled "Innovation and Creativity in the Workplace".  I hope you can attend. In the meantime, color a picture the next time you are vexed by a particularly tough problem.  The results may surprise you.

All the best

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