Creativity in the Workplace


by Doug Eaton, Director of International Sales, Kimray, Inc.

The creativity movement around the world is capturing the imaginations of education, arts and business advocate groups around the world. Not many would be surprised about Education and the Arts. After all, the best teachers are recognized as those who can keep the transfer of knowledge evergreen – to instill and encourage the thirst for knowledge in students. And the Arts…well, who doesnʼt believe the very essence of creativity is ballet, painting, sculpture and the theatre? But business? Really? This archetype of conservatism where consistency, internal HR policies, state and federal scrutiny, GAP analysis and hierarchical structures make coloring outside the lines as acceptable as dentures in a punch bowl?

I say the greatest need for creativity is in business. I also say the greatest demonstrations of creativity ….by far…in the world are in business.

Even though business is constrained by hard lines of governance both internally and externally, the basic role of business is to produce a product or service that is valuable in the eyes of those willing to buy it. This reality drives the business enterprise to achieve, to win, to survive. Solve the nasty problem, create the next beautiful widget, invent and solve a need previously unrealized by those with money to spend….and do it all within a budget allowed by the ability or predicted ability to sell it.

Management people, machine operators, marketing analysts, leaders and clerical people alike all have a role in looking deeper into processes, measuring and improving the value of their product to win the war with their competitors or to win the continued loyalty of the consumer. This constant pressure to create value, drives the necessity to constantly improve. So, whether it is an innovative design to improve function, appearance or cost, or a method to train workers more effectively, or to create an IT program that will increase speed and decrease cost in a manufacturing process….creativity is required. Businesses that have more creativity are more successful than those with less creativity. And businesses that win over time employ people who are creative.

So how can the educational sector better produce the future talent and attitudes required to keep the leading edge moving and expanding?

There must be thousands of ways if the environment for change is established. I suggest that students need to have fun in problem solving. Incentivize the genius of teachers and curriculum developers in the creation of age appropriate gaming projects and networks. These gaming strategies would integrate the reading, math and science skills currently being taught. The students would learn to solve for efficiency, move groups of people in team settings and develop skills in bringing diverse hard skill sets to bear on practical problems. This strategy should be the center of the core curriculum, as opposed to reserving these activities for extracurricular project groups that tend to focus on children with more resources or early indications of talent.

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