1. Ten Dimensions of Creative Climate
Summary of research by Dr. Göran Ekvall

During the 1970’s and 1980’s Göran Ekvall conducted surveys across 27 organizations. His research has been repeated and built upon in the US and other countries since then. Ekvall was trying to identify factors of psychological climate that influence creativity and innovation.

The following ten dimensions heavily influence innovative outcomes. Nine of the dimensions are positively correlated with innovation and Conflict is inversely correlated.

Challenge/Engagement - How involved are people in daily operations, long term goals and vision?
Freedom - To what degree do people act independently within the organization?
Trust/Openness - How safe do people feel emotionally?
Idea Time - How much time is allocated to coming up with and working on new ideas?
Playfullness & Humor - To what degree do employees exhibit spontaneity and ease in the workplace? 
Idea Support - How are new ideas treated?
Open Debate - Is there room for healthy disagreement?
Risk Taking - How much is uncertainty and ambiguity tolerated?
Dynamism - How many different types of things are going on? Do employees feel stimulated?
Conflict - Are there interpersonal and emotional tensions?
Which dimension do you believe isthe most critical in your organization?

Sources:
Organizational climate for creativity and innovation
Image courtesy of Virginia Lee Montgomery of ImageThink.

    Ten Dimensions of Creative Climate

    Summary of research by Dr. Göran Ekvall


    During the 1970’s and 1980’s Göran Ekvall conducted surveys across 27 organizations. His research has been repeated and built upon in the US and other countries since then. Ekvall was trying to identify factors of psychological climate that influence creativity and innovation.


    The following ten dimensions heavily influence innovative outcomes. Nine of the dimensions are positively correlated with innovation and Conflict is inversely correlated.


    1. Challenge/Engagement - How involved are people in daily operations, long term goals and vision?
    2. Freedom - To what degree do people act independently within the organization?
    3. Trust/Openness - How safe do people feel emotionally?
    4. Idea Time - How much time is allocated to coming up with and working on new ideas?
    5. Playfullness & Humor - To what degree do employees exhibit spontaneity and ease in the workplace?
    6. Idea Support - How are new ideas treated?
    7. Open Debate - Is there room for healthy disagreement?
    8. Risk Taking - How much is uncertainty and ambiguity tolerated?
    9. Dynamism - How many different types of things are going on? Do employees feel stimulated?
    10. Conflict - Are there interpersonal and emotional tensions?

    Which dimension do you believe is
    the most critical in your organization?


    Sources:


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 10 months ago

  2. See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago
  3. Building Innovation Capacity


    The Talent Development team at a major engineering firm needed to create a coherent innovation curriculum across all levels of leadership in the organization. The result was the design and development of learning objectives and curriculum across five talent pools with common themes and core messages on driving organizational innovation by focusing on individuals, climate, operations and strategy.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago
  4. Ancient Innovations
Reaching Back Through History to Find Creative Inspiration
By Sharon de Korte

History

A few years ago I went to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. It is an
incredible museum with a fantastic collection of unusual shoes – glass slippers,
shoes of Winston Churchill, and the actual moonboots Neil Armstrong wore when he
walked on the moon.

There was a special exhibit on 15th - 17th century Venetian chopines that left a deep
impression on me. They had the most incredible platform shoes imaginable – up to
20 inches tall. Women who wore them were usually accompanied by an attendant
on whom they could balance themselves.

Today

My apartment building is having the hallways redone. Today as I arrived
home, I was surprised to see two workmen in front of my door wearing what looked
like a modern version of those Venetian shoes: 20 inch heels strapped on to their
work boots to enable them to easily walk around and plaster the ceiling.

I imagined how inconvenient it must be to do this type of work with a ladder:
climbing up and down, up and down, up and down, moving the ladder every few
moments.

In retrospect, this is an obvious solution…but it wasn’t obvious to all those people
all those years (and even now) who go up and down ladders to do the same job.
I wondered how this idea was born. Maybe the inventor thought, “how might we
more easily move the ladder,” or “how might we attach the ladder to the worker,”

or “how might we have a ladder at the end of our feet,” or “how might we create
easy-to-wear stilts?”

Regardless of their foundational questions, I can’t help thinking that the designers
had seen the very shoe exhibit that intrigued me so much. If so, those inspirational
but impractical shoes would have to be developed into something comfortable and
practical, and which didn’t require an assistant to keep the wearer from falling over.

Comparing the Venetian shoes to the modern ones, I noticed that there are lots of
straps on the workmen’s stilts, keeping them stable and secure. There is an essential
extra support that ties the stilts just below the knee. They also have a network of
springs, which not only make them comfortable to walk in, but also provide the
workmen a lot more flexibility, as they are able to bend a lot more easily.

I must admit, I wouldn’t mind a pair just for changing the occasional light bulb and
smoke detector batteries.

What problems are you working on now, that might find inspiration in history?

    Ancient Innovations

    Reaching Back Through History to Find Creative Inspiration

    By Sharon de Korte


    History

    A few years ago I went to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. It is an incredible museum with a fantastic collection of unusual shoes – glass slippers, shoes of Winston Churchill, and the actual moonboots Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon.


    There was a special exhibit on 15th - 17th century Venetian chopines that left a deep impression on me. They had the most incredible platform shoes imaginable – up to 20 inches tall. Women who wore them were usually accompanied by an attendant on whom they could balance themselves.


    Today


    My apartment building is having the hallways redone. Today as I arrived home, I was surprised to see two workmen in front of my door wearing what looked like a modern version of those Venetian shoes: 20 inch heels strapped on to their work boots to enable them to easily walk around and plaster the ceiling.


    I imagined how inconvenient it must be to do this type of work with a ladder: climbing up and down, up and down, up and down, moving the ladder every few moments.


    In retrospect, this is an obvious solution…but it wasn’t obvious to all those people all those years (and even now) who go up and down ladders to do the same job. I wondered how this idea was born. Maybe the inventor thought, “how might we more easily move the ladder,” or “how might we attach the ladder to the worker,”


    or “how might we have a ladder at the end of our feet,” or “how might we create easy-to-wear stilts?”


    Regardless of their foundational questions, I can’t help thinking that the designers had seen the very shoe exhibit that intrigued me so much. If so, those inspirational but impractical shoes would have to be developed into something comfortable and practical, and which didn’t require an assistant to keep the wearer from falling over.


    Comparing the Venetian shoes to the modern ones, I noticed that there are lots of straps on the workmen’s stilts, keeping them stable and secure. There is an essential extra support that ties the stilts just below the knee. They also have a network of springs, which not only make them comfortable to walk in, but also provide the workmen a lot more flexibility, as they are able to bend a lot more easily.


    I must admit, I wouldn’t mind a pair just for changing the occasional light bulb and smoke detector batteries.


    What problems are you working on now, that might find inspiration in history?



    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago
  5. Point of Departure
By Amy Frazier
Italian translation ringraziamenti a Remo Nuzzolese.

Embarking on the act of creating something is like launching ourselves on a journey. Though the route begins at our point of departure, too often our imagination is focused on what we’ll do when we arrive – the sights we’ll see, the marvels we’ll experience – and not on the path which can take us there.

Years ago, when traveling in Italy, I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of clarifying the path.

My travel companion (read: husband-at-the-time) and I had quit our jobs to dedicate four months of our newly married life to the highways and byways of his ancestral paese. He was the anthropological guide, I the cultural attaché. He gravitated toward the ruins, ancient coins and familial table. I led us to the museums, restaurants, and – importantly – to the wine. We were on a backpacker’s budget, so the choice of all of the above had to be strategically considered and meticulously planned. Guided by a slim paperback on Italian food and wine, I readied recommendations as we arrived in each regional capital.

On the day in question, we were in Piedmont in search of its good wines, exemplars of which could be found in and about the town of Canelli, home of Moscato d’Asti and one of the premiere wine-producing communities in the world.

We had planned to take a locale train to Alba, and from there board a bus to Canelli. The train pulled in and we piled out. Husband-at-the-time trotted over to one of the waiting busses, spoke quickly to the driver up on his perch, and then waved me to hurry. The bus was leaving right then.

The urgency seemed inconsistent with my carefully planned itinerary, but I hurried on board. The bus pulled away. The driver turned to us over his shoulder and affirmed: “Stiamo andando a Canale…”

Only the very slightest shift in vowels caught my attention. Did he say “Can-ei-lee?” or did he say “Can-ah-ley?” “Aspetta!” I said. “Wait! — Canelli?” “Ma no,” he said. “Canale!” “Ferma!” I called out. Stop! We’d jumped on the wrong bus.

Canelli and Canale. So close, yet the distinction meant everything. The towns were less than 25 miles apart – still, to have arrived at unremarkable Canale in the search for noteworthy Canelli would have been a disappointing waste of resources, and an unnecessary loss of experience.

I think about this near-miss sometimes when I find myself impatient to move forward with a creative project and suspect that I’m forcing the process. I also think about it when I hear people describe a point in the future as the moment when they will engage their creative thinking — when the time is ripe to “toss around ideas,” for example, much the way that husband-at-the-time and I looked forward to tossing back a few glasses of Canelli’s effervescent varietals.

What makes us think that creativity, and its cousin curiosity, aren’t at least as important when we are boarding the bus as they will be when we arrive?

In fact, with applied creativity and innovation processes, choosing which bus to board is the first major phase of work. It’s a highly creative space and demands attention, inquisitiveness, and clarity. In fact, it sometimes goes under the name of “clarification.” If we don’t do a good job clarifying, we may find ourselves miles down the road, in a town that sounds kind of like where we thought we were headed, but where the returns aren’t nearly as gratifying. Often such near misses (in contrast to the really major failures of navigation, such as ending up in neighboring Austria, for example), are simply papered over, the losses quietly and cynically chalked up to failed ideation efforts, or “bad brainstorming.” But if you didn’t know where you were going when you set out, or which bus you jumped on to get there, is it any wonder your discoveries may disappoint?

On the other hand, taking the time upfront to bring creative thinking to the clarification part of the process can benefit you immeasurably down the road. It’s more time intensive at the beginning, but, much like the efforts which go into producing good wine, it’s worth it: ideas are better vetted to successfully find their home in the world, with less confusion and strain. Their worth has been made clear.

So the next time you’re tempted to save the creative thinking for a later stage in the process, consider this: “Lu vino buono se venne senza frasca.” Good wine can be sold without needing to advertise.

    Point of Departure

    By Amy Frazier

    Italian translation ringraziamenti a Remo Nuzzolese.


    Embarking on the act of creating something is like launching ourselves on a journey. Though the route begins at our point of departure, too often our imagination is focused on what we’ll do when we arrive – the sights we’ll see, the marvels we’ll experience – and not on the path which can take us there.


    Years ago, when traveling in Italy, I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of clarifying the path.


    My travel companion (read: husband-at-the-time) and I had quit our jobs to dedicate four months of our newly married life to the highways and byways of his ancestral paese. He was the anthropological guide, I the cultural attaché. He gravitated toward the ruins, ancient coins and familial table. I led us to the museums, restaurants, and – importantly – to the wine. We were on a backpacker’s budget, so the choice of all of the above had to be strategically considered and meticulously planned. Guided by a slim paperback on Italian food and wine, I readied recommendations as we arrived in each regional capital.


    On the day in question, we were in Piedmont in search of its good wines, exemplars of which could be found in and about the town of Canelli, home of Moscato d’Asti and one of the premiere wine-producing communities in the world.


    We had planned to take a locale train to Alba, and from there board a bus to Canelli. The train pulled in and we piled out. Husband-at-the-time trotted over to one of the waiting busses, spoke quickly to the driver up on his perch, and then waved me to hurry. The bus was leaving right then.


    The urgency seemed inconsistent with my carefully planned itinerary, but I hurried on board. The bus pulled away. The driver turned to us over his shoulder and affirmed: “Stiamo andando a Canale…”


    Only the very slightest shift in vowels caught my attention. Did he say “Can-ei-lee?” or did he say “Can-ah-ley?” “Aspetta!” I said. “Wait! — Canelli?” “Ma no,” he said. “Canale!” “Ferma!” I called out. Stop! We’d jumped on the wrong bus.


    Canelli and Canale. So close, yet the distinction meant everything. The towns were less than 25 miles apart – still, to have arrived at unremarkable Canale in the search for noteworthy Canelli would have been a disappointing waste of resources, and an unnecessary loss of experience.


    I think about this near-miss sometimes when I find myself impatient to move forward with a creative project and suspect that I’m forcing the process. I also think about it when I hear people describe a point in the future as the moment when they will engage their creative thinking — when the time is ripe to “toss around ideas,” for example, much the way that husband-at-the-time and I looked forward to tossing back a few glasses of Canelli’s effervescent varietals.


    What makes us think that creativity, and its cousin curiosity, aren’t at least as important when we are boarding the bus as they will be when we arrive?


    In fact, with applied creativity and innovation processes, choosing which bus to board is the first major phase of work. It’s a highly creative space and demands attention, inquisitiveness, and clarity. In fact, it sometimes goes under the name of “clarification.” If we don’t do a good job clarifying, we may find ourselves miles down the road, in a town that sounds kind of like where we thought we were headed, but where the returns aren’t nearly as gratifying. Often such near misses (in contrast to the really major failures of navigation, such as ending up in neighboring Austria, for example), are simply papered over, the losses quietly and cynically chalked up to failed ideation efforts, or “bad brainstorming.” But if you didn’t know where you were going when you set out, or which bus you jumped on to get there, is it any wonder your discoveries may disappoint?


    On the other hand, taking the time upfront to bring creative thinking to the clarification part of the process can benefit you immeasurably down the road. It’s more time intensive at the beginning, but, much like the efforts which go into producing good wine, it’s worth it: ideas are better vetted to successfully find their home in the world, with less confusion and strain. Their worth has been made clear.


    So the next time you’re tempted to save the creative thinking for a later stage in the process, consider this: “Lu vino buono se venne senza frasca.” Good wine can be sold without needing to advertise.


    See full post and discussion
    Posted: 1 year ago