Haha – chided on my CEO’s blog after breezily asserting in my post that ‘being involved is energizing’. As he points out, there’s quite a lot of serious evidence that happier employees are in fact more productive.
Some creativity is driven by rivalry. Jim Al-Khalili’s brilliant series on the atom yesterday evening (give yourself a treat – it’s on BBC i-Player until 8 Nov ) mentioned the bitter intense intellectual and personal rivalry, decades-long, between physicists Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann, who had adjacent offices at Caltech. [both won Nobel Prizes for their work].
But imho a lot of creativity comes from joy and happiness. It comes from the jumble of dialog, from the intermingling of perspectives. If the context is open, so there is no fear of failure, and new thinking won’t just get crushed by orthodoxy, then the sparks of insight will fly from the collision of ideas – not personalities.
This latter ‘social’ collaborative creativity seems a lot more appealing and humane. And it may ultimately yield the more interesting results – what Steven Johnson, author of Where Do Good Ideas Come From?, has termed emergent innovation, the kind of innovation that takes you by surprise (as against a more driven focussed innovation where you kind of know at the start where the answer lies).
Any organization that wants to still be in business next quarter has to structure this IdeasFest. It needs an enterprise-wide collaborative framework that enables everyone’s involvement and highlights the way in which so much is interconnected, so that my cost saving project doesn’t just impose higher costs on your department. It needs a common language for this creative dialog: end-to-end process. And, to be sustainable, it needs a governance framework that can orchestrate change and ensure compliance. Remind you of anything? ;-)