If you know me and/or have been following this blog, you know that since mid-July I have shifted my focus to creativity and innovation, something that I have been working on for the last six or more years.
As I have shifted focus I have reached out to some of you in my KM network, because I wanted to share the news with you and renew our connection. I also asked for a favour of some feedback on what I was doing or if you knew anyone who might be interested in what I’m doing. Most of you were happy to help, and a few of you admitted that you couldn’t, which was a perfectly acceptable answer.
Anyway, with that first round of feedback and conversations, I realised that I wasn’t doing a good job of conveying my excitement over my shift, and why I thought I was particularly relevant for KM programs. I’ve taken a few weeks to reflect on how to do this better and received some coaching about how to approach it and have developed a short slide deck, which you can see below.
I’d appreciate it if you have a couple of minutes (there are only 6 slides), to take a look at it and let me know what you think.
Let’s first start with: what is Creative Leadership?
Creative Leadership takes more calculated risks and keeps innovating in how they lead and communicate. They are ready to upset the status quo even if it is successful and are committed to ongoing experimentation with disruptive business solutions
In a 2010 study done by IBM (and cited in this HBR article) organisations that had creative leaders had 6 times higher revenue growth and planned to get 20% of their revenue from new sources in the near future.) The article also cites increased employee engagement as an outcome of Creative Leadership.
Why does this matter?
Well the revenue/profit connection is clear (I hope). But what does Employee Engagement have to do with anything?
Well, employees who are engaged in their jobs/careers are more productive, which leads to increased profitability. Because they are more engaged there is less absenteeism, increased loyalty, higher retention and thus lower turnover.
Employees who are satisfied and engaged are better at solving problems and engaging with customers (from the previously cited HBR article).
So, how do you bring Creative Leadership to your organisation?
Create a culture where it is okay to try and fail, a culture where it is acceptable to question the status quo, to unlearn and selectively forget past successes, and co-create new products and services with employees, customers, partners, and the wider community. Help staff re-learn how to be creative, because it was educated out of them.
Creative Leadership isn’t just about those higher up in the hierarchy having these skills, this is about everyone having these skills. In the knowledge economy, everyone is a leader and everyone is a follower. Creative Leaders create more Creative Leaders.
Today (September 27, 2018), is the second time I have come across the term, “Collective Intelligence” in the last week. I liked it the first time I heard it and the first time I heard it was in reference to what knowledge management had evolved into at a large, international organisation.
The second time I came across it was earlier today, on the website of an organisation who seems to be doing work like I am doing: creativity, innovation, resilience, autonomy.
I am sure there are lots of other places that it is used, I’m sure the words aren’t new and the ideas expressed in both situations aren’t new. But what attracted me, was that they describe what I have done and what I am doing, which somehow reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for doing what I’m doing.
So, are you trying to capture, leverage, tap into the collective intelligence of your organisation? It seems that anecdotal evidence suggest using a combination of knowledge management activities, combined with creativity to give you innovative, unique results to help you realise your potential: Entelechy.
We need to talk, I can help you!
(this blog post originally appeared on my Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting blog in April 2017, and I expressed similar thoughts in a chapter I wrote for KM Matters, which was published early in 2018. I am reproducing it here, because I will be taking my Missing Puzzle Piece Consulting webpage down, and this content is still relevant.)
We seem to have spent so much time in the last 100+ years trying to drive efficiency and effectiveness into our processes. How to do things faster, with more quality, with better outcomes, reduce waste, reduce re-work. These are not bad things, but in our push to be effective and efficient many of our organisations have removed time for reflection, for questioning, for considering alternatives out of the process.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in the last 100+ years, there most definitely has been. Whole areas of study have been developed/discovered, new technology is being developed all the time, but what about the “smaller” things, everyday things. What happens when we take away the time to think and reflect? We do things by rote, not thinking about if that’s the right thing to do, we get tired and suffer burnout, we start to make mistakes and treat people badly because we have focused on efficiency and effectiveness to the detriment of the system as a whole (see United Airline’s complete failure to respect passengers (https://fortune.com/2017/04/11/united-airlines-video/ and https://innovationexcellence.com/blog/2017/04/17/innovating-for-a-worse-customer-experience-insights-from-united-airlines/ and https://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/03/27/united-airlines-bars-teens-from-flight-for-failure-to-meet-dress-code-social-media-erupts/)
How do we bring that space for reflection, for some humanity back into our activities? By introducing time. Time for reflection, time for learning, time for asking questions, time for talking to other people, time for doing things differently, time for experimenting. Time.
Last night (July 17, 2018), I spoke to a group of about 70 energetic, engaged (mostly) women at the Future Females: Berlin, Thinking Creatively & Thinking Bigger event.
What an honour and a privilege to talk to them about creativity and how to increase it’s presence in both our professional and personal lives.
I shared 4 different creativity activities with them, 1 was an improv activity, and the other 3 were drawing, as well as some background and context information about creativity.
I usually speak with much smaller groups, so this was a great learning opportunity for me, but despite my “learning on the job” or maybe because of it, we had a great time, some good discussion, and some fun trying new activities.
Thank you to all who came out and tried something new!
I have posted my slides on Slideshare, if anyone is interested.
Age of Artists published an excerpt from the KM Matters book that I mentioned in my previous post:
How a Creative Mindset can be Adopted in our Organizations
I wrote a chapter on innovation and creativity and how they connect to knowledge management for the book, Knowledge Management Matters: Words of Wisdom from Leading Practitioners, which was published early in 2018.
There’s a free PDF available here: http://www.johngirard.net/kmmatters/
As well, there is a video and a podcast of me talking about the chapter.
Let me know if you’d like to apply some of the ideas I discuss in the chapter to your organisation or your personal situation.