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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Dimensions of A Creative Climate

A change of culture occurs when people start behaving differently as a result of a change in the climate of the organization. Altering a company’s workplace environment is the most direct way to develop and manage employees’ creativity. Improving the organizational climate for creativity and innovation can effectively promote problem solving in a company and thereby increase its productivity and competitiveness.

Research around creative culture and general climate has led to the identification of key areas on which companies can focus to develop an effective climate in which people are not only creative, but where they are motivated to develop these ideas into value-adding contributions to the success of the whole organization.

Swedish researcher Göran Ekvall identified 10 climate dimensions (nine positively correlated, and one negatively correlated) that affect creativity in organizations.     

To do anything, people must feel motivated, an internal need to act. The climate of the organization thus must provide the cues and forces that lead people into the deep motivation that is required to push through from idea to end product.

Challenge and Involvement
The degree to which people are involved in daily operations and long term goals. The climate has a dynamic, electric and inspiring quality. People find meaning in their work and are intrinsically motivated to invest much energy. The opposite is a feeling of alienation, indifference, apathy and lack of interest.
Most people here strive to do a good job

Playfulness and Humor
Spontaneity and ease displayed in the workplace. Relaxed atmosphere where jokes and laughter occur often. Fun at work. Easy going.

Opposite is seriousness, stiff and gloomy atmosphere. Laughter is improper

People here have a sense of humor.

Once people are motivated to be creative, they need the environment in which they can be creative.

Independence in behavior. Autonomy to define much of work. Taking initiative. Opposite - strict guidelines and roles. Work carried out in prescribed ways with little room to redefine their tasks.

People here make choices about their own work.

Idea Time
Amount of time can use and do use for elaborating ideas. Possibilities exist to discuss and test impulses that are not planned or included in task assignment. Slack.
Opposite - every minute booked. Time pressures make thinking outside instructions and planned routines impossible.

One has the opportunity to stop work here in order to test new ideas

Idea Support
The ways new ideas are treated - attentive, listened to, encouraged. Constructive & positive atmosphere.
Opposite automatic 'no' prevailing, suggestions refuted by counter argument. Fault finding usual style.

People here receive support and encouragement when presenting new ideas.

Alongside a motivated and empowered organization, a harder edge is needed that drives forward towards success.

Getting an idea from first notion to final product can be a long and arduous process. This requires a dynamic environment in which people are energized and constantly pushing forward. You can walk into many workplaces and feel the lack of energy and enthusiasm, whilst others have a definite, almost palpable buzz about them.

Buzz and energy comes from the leaders of the organization. This includes the formal management and informal social leaders. People look to these leaders for cues in how they behave. If the leader is full of energy and enthusiasm, then this emotion will 'infect' others and the motivation will spread through the organization.

Personal & emotional tension. Conflict high. Interpersonal warfare. Plots, traps, power struggles. Slander, gossip.

Opposite is more mature, deal effectively with diversity.

There is a great deal of personal tension here

Discussion of opposing opinions and sharing diversity of perspectives.

Opposite - follow authoritarian patterns without questioning. Groupthink.

Many different points of view are shared here during discussion.

Trust & Openness
Emotional safety in relationships. When a level of trust, individuals can be open and frank with each other.. Can count for personal support. Have respect. Opposite is suspicion, closely guarded, cannot communicate openly.
People here do not steal each others ideas.

Risk Taking Tolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity in workplace. Bold new initiatives taken when outcomes unknown. Take a gamble, out on a limb.

Opposite is cautious, hesitant mentality. Sleep on it, safe side. Committees to cover themselves before making a decision.

People here feel as though they can take bold action even if the outcome is unclear.

If a company wants to become more creative, rather than just encouraging people or teaching tools, then perhaps the best way is to develop the organizational climate. Rather than telling the plants to grow, this is about tending to the soil in which they can become what they are capable of becoming.

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