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In the modern business world, competitive advantage is maintained by producing more with less. Technology is a core attribute in this process. However, without a cohesive strategy to envision the future creatively, technological advantage will be wasted. In this article, we discuss how critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making can be used in the role of creativity in change management.
Creativity is essential to the evolution of products and services. New ideas shift an organization from being reactive to being proactive. Instead of operating behind the curve, creativity empowers a ‘Steve Jobs’ approach: creating new products and opening new markets.
While most organizations hand responsibility for creativity to a single person or dedicated team, it is becoming more recognizable that everyone has creative capacity. When it is understood that everyone can contribute, the outcomes can be transformative. Google’s approach to innovation has resulted in amazing products, such as Google Talk, AdSense, Google Maps, and Gmail.
There’s a misconception that the most creative people work without structure. But to meet company goals, retain revenues, and drive forward with change, creativity needs to be harnessed. Giving your people a structure in which to be creative is a common leadership challenge, and one in which the best companies are excelling.
One way to do this is to encourage a critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making approach.
Organizations are faced with having to make decisions every day. Some decide to do nothing: the worst mistake that any company can make. Think Kodak, Blockbuster, and Sears – all of which were equipped with deep market knowledge but did nothing with it, eventually falling from grace and into oblivion.
The act of deciding to do nothing is a decision itself. Therefore, when defining decision-making, it is to choose one action over another. It will either be the right action, the wrong action, or no action. Of course, you will want to take the right action. However, even if you choose the wrong action, you have acknowledged that a problem exists and have started the process of finding a solution.
Needing to make a decision necessarily means that there is some debate over which course of action to take. So, how do you eliminate this uncertainty?
When presented with a problem, you need to analyse it and decide how to resolve it. Companies have used this strategy successfully for decades, innovating products to next-generation models. Apple has done this time and again with its iPhone. But its market share in the global smartphone market has almost halved since 2014 (Gartner, November 2017). Some analysts are now questioning Apple’s ability to remain innovative and market-leading. Why? Because it appears to be failing to employ critical thinking in its process.
Critical thinking is a far more meaningful process than problem solving. It requires evaluation using personal (or organizational) knowledge and experience to deeply explore the situation and arrive at a carefully considered conclusion, based upon evidence and reason. To employ critical thinking at its most creative, take these steps:
In summary, define your creativity in change management by giving it a structure: think critically, solve problems, and make decisions. To discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp and coaching in facilitating will help your organization and leaders produce lasting change, contact Primeast today.
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