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Creative, Innovative Processes Require Thought, Nurturing

To successfully compete in the 21st century, creativity and sustained innovation are key.

These traits have been the hallmark of small business success.

Today, we live in an era of accelerated change unlike any other in history. 

Products become obsolete in a nanosecond; new careers tracks suddenly appear while others quickly vanish; organizations rise and fall almost overnight; and just trying to keep up with technology can make one’s head spin.

The faster things change, the stronger creative thinking and problem-solving skills need to be.

Chris Grivas, an organizational and leadership-development consultant, and Gerard J. Puccio, Ph.D., department chair and professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, have teamed up and written The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential For Breakthrough Results.

The authors believe that the creative process can be boiled down to four distinct steps:

Clarifying the Situation: This is the entry point – the starting gate in any innovation, performance improvement, or problem-solving process.  When clarifying, the real problem is sorted out from the symptoms or distractions.  During this step, it is also important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, as well as discovering how to move the team forward.  This last point is repeated throughout each step.

Generating Ideas: At some point, the clarifying ends, and some ideas are needed that will tackle the challenges that have been identified.  This is the stage for that moment of illumination – the “eureka” moment.  Divergent thinking will help generate as many ideas as possible. Convergent thinking will ensue when there are enough ideas to choose from.  Again, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the team members will be essential.

Developing Solutions: Many people confuse creativity with idea generation; they believe that all one needs to do to be creative is to have a novel idea.  In this stage, the goal is to transform novel ideas into workable solutions – tinkering, adjusting and polishing.  What are the strengths of the ideas? Advantages, drawbacks, obstacles?

 Implementing Plans: This is the stage where project plans are created and completed.  Now it’s all about action and, in many ways, about managing change.  Who needs to be involved?  What communications need to be drafted?  What else is happening that may help or hinder success? Are the reasons for the change clearly laid out?

 Puccio says: “This book was written to help teams take advantage of the creative talents of their team members to help teams sustain their innovation efforts by recognizing that innovation does not have to be left up to chance. Instead, a formal process can be used to produce breakthrough thinking, and to recognize that within this process, people will have different preferences.”

In this business fable, Grivas and Puccio offer team leaders and team members a framework for promoting innovation and creativity within their organization. 

Backed by 20 years of research and international field-testing, they introduce a set of tools built on FourSight, a measure of problem-solving preferences, which can help businesspeople solve problems and achieve performance breakthroughs. 

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