No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Creating creative leaders


The value of creative leadership has been established.  You need only look at the recent IBM study (Aug 2011), or going back take a look at PwC's 'Global innovation study' of 2000, The Harvard Business review article 'How GE teaches Teams to Lead change' (Jan 2010) or any of the vast number of similar studies.

The question is not: 'is it desirable' but 'how does one create this type of dynamic creative leadership quickly and effectively'?

The answer to the latter question has been the subject of study and reserarch for over 55 years and an established skillbase with a supporting theory exists.  This has been validated in practice in many world-leading companies. 

It requires the development of:

1. A process-orientated facilitative leadership approach that carefully designs processes of engagement that deliberately stimulate purposeful creativity;

2. A way of engaging with problems or opportunities and the deisgn of the processes of social interaction that harnesses the value of differences. (Creating new opportunities from opposing perspectives and views.)

3. Strategic leadership that focuses on deliberately creating a workplace climate supportive of creativity;

4. Guidance of wise choices from the (we estimate over 15,500) creative and problem solving tools that are advanced to improve performance and provides practical down to earth guidance on the way these tools are used (technique) to get the best from the time and resources available to generate and select the best and most appropriate options.

5. Clarity of ownership and sponsorship for the result of the creative activity.

6. A shared understanding of what creativity actually is and how it is released in purposeful, efficient ways.

These considerations are not new and despite the fact that human creativity is complex and its study on the forefront of human endeavour; it is understandable and open to focussed development. Given this and the need for it why then hasn't it been more widely embraced?

Our experience shows a number of reasons. None of them surprising.

1. Lack of understanding or appreciation of the fact that this type of leadership can be developed quickly and effectively. 

2. It challenges existing leadership paradigms (and current leadership development programmes).

3. It is often seen as the province for R&D rather than being widespread across the whole project and business cycle (where it brings the greatest value).

4. There is apparent competition from other initiatives that on the surface look the same but fail to deliver lasting results.

5. It looks too simple. Many senior leaders we have spoken to simply don't believe it can be done so easily. Others have been amazed that it has been.

6. People fail to understand scalability. Creative leadership can take place in a one-to-one meeting or be widely dispursed across the entire organisation. The principles and thinking processes remain the same. The shifting factor is the complexity of what creative leadership touches (the organisational factors, vested interest etc) and what touches it (the workplace climate). But then this is a creative leadership challenge in its own right. Start small and grow organically is a fair response to this.

7. It looks like it emphasises 'workshops'. Most people's experience is less than productive workshops (often involving much 'brainstorming' before settling on the answer that would have been selected without it) so why have more? Instead what about asking how every one-to-one or many-to-many interaction can be more productive, efficient and creative. You can have it all with effective creative leadership in place.

8. It appears only to be something for large firms. This is a myth. Because creative leadership is so scalable it can be created in organisations of any size. In fact it is reasonable to suggest that growing firms ought to establish the skills and mindset early on so they avoid having to embark on a large (expensive) and cumbersome organisational change process later on.  Why not invest a little in getting it right first time?

It is not really then a question of 'why' or 'how' but 'who will reap the benefits?'

Adrian leads The Advanced Problem Solving Partnership, part of the throught-leadership of The Creative Problem Solving Group and Bristol University Systems Centre.

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!