Creativity in business has become increasingly important for business results, success, and sustainability. As organizations seek to foster creativity and innovation to solve problems, it is unquestionable that ideation has become a source of impactful competitive advantage.
Creativity and innovation are matrix and multi-structured phenomena that thrive over time, and that requires skillful leadership, new skills, and methods, in order to maximize the benefits of new possibilities and improved ways of working. So, we can say that creativity and innovation are the business hack to face down many problems we have.
In the last decades, design thinking was what was next for creative problem-solving. And now the question is what’s next for design thinking itself, and what is next for creative problem-solving more broadly.
Regardless of where you stand on the business or management spectrum, the following methods and skills will play a role in the future of creative problem-solving.
Integrative thinking can help us expand the frontier of possibilities. This is an approach to problem-solving that uses opposing ideas as the basis for innovation. It is based on the ability to hold a range of different and opposing data and models in your mind and be able to leverage the tensions, the cognitive dissonance, that creates to stimulate innovative solutions.
Integrative thinkers embrace messiness and complexity. They recognize the need to differentiate between technical problems and adaptive challenges and, what Heifetz and Linsky call, “adaptive leadership”. — Ron Heifetz
Business design is a human-centered approach to innovation. It applies the principles and practices of design to help organizations create new value and new forms of competitive advantage. At its core, business design is the integration of customer empathy, experience design, and business strategy.
Human-centered design is a philosophy, not a precise set of methods, but one that assumes that innovation should start by getting close to users and observing their activities. — Donald A. Norman
The fearless organization is an organization that provides psychological safety. Perhaps we’re naturally comfortable living with the devil we know — organizations where self-protection quietly crowds out the creativity, learning, and belonging that lies beneath. But, building psychological safety is a good place to start building your fearless organization.
If leaders want to unleash individual and collective talent, they must foster a psychologically safe climate where employees feel free to contribute ideas, share information, and report mistakes. — Amy C. Edmondson
Change management is a systematic approach to manage and implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change. As the world of business continues to evolve and accelerate, managers need a strategic mindset to tackle complex challenges, navigate uncertainty and manage change all the time. The next generation of managers are leaders equipped to manage constant change, make strategic decisions, and incentivize creativity and opportunities for innovation.
As Jim Collins put it in his book Good to Great, “Great leaders have two characteristics: deep personal humility and intense professional will.”
Creative solutions don’t happen by accident. They aren’t enacted by one genius — they come from diverse teams that work well together and optimize the right skills and methods. Organizations who are serious about success in the creative economy can cast teams in ways where they bring in a diversity of perspective that brings creativity in business and leads to innovative thinking.
With so much riding on creativity and innovation for the future of creative problem-solving, success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thinking, and the interpersonal climate must not suppress, silence, ridicule, or intimidate.
Pfeffer and Sutton’s definition of wisdom: Using your knowledge while doubting what you know.