Creativity - a factor for success

Suggestion boxes and financial rewards do not raise creativity in a company. Instead companies need to encourage and implement the ideas that come from personnel. That’s when creativity can pay for itself.

Award-winning author, pedagogue and organisational consultant Dr. Alan G. Robinson took part in Coor’s managers’ day this year to talk about improvement processes. Dr. Robinson has studied over 300 organisations in 17 countries, giving him a unique opportunity to examine the similarities between personnel in different organisations.

“Personnel on the floor see a lot of problems and opportunities their managers don’t see. Managers must understand that 80% of the ideas come from personnel, and only 20% from management,” says Dr. Robinson.

How an organisation sets about producing ideas also has an impact on how well it succeeds in its improvement work.

First and foremost, senior management must have the desire to drive the change process, to spearhead this work and encourage the rest of the organisation to get on board. Middle managers and supervisors must be trained and guided in how to get their teams to come up with ideas. Setting clear, quantitative goals, such as asking each of the company’s employees to submit at least one idea a month for a year, can help to kick-start the process. By also setting aside time, such as once a week, for the teams to focus solely on ideas establishes a process for corporate creativity which is integrated with other work elements.

Robinson challenges managers and personnel to observe what’s going on in the operation, on the floor and to create a joint, positive ideas process. This encourages everyone’s creativity. 

“It really is a win-win situation,” he says. “It’s part of the improvement process companies can implement to help personnel perceive added value, and personnel in turn can take pride and satisfaction in knowing that they work for a company that listens to them and values their ideas.

“For an organisation like Coor the real challenge lies in trying to keep more of an eye out for problems. When personnel start noticing problems, it gives them an opportunity to be creative and find solutions,” says Dr. Robinson.

Five point for a good ideas

About Dr. Alan G. Robinson

Dr. Alan G. Robinson is a specialist in Lean Production and in managing continuous improvement, creativity and innovation. He has co-authored five books which have been translated into over 20 languages. Dr. Robinson works at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, USA.

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