Bright ideas lost as managers fail to encourage creativity

UK managers are not doing enough to encourage their staff to put forward innovative ideas, researchers warned today.

A survey of 2,020 workers, part of Vodafone UK’s Working Nation series of reports, reveals that more than half (54%) of the respondents are not encouraged to be creative or to present ideas to managers. 

More than two thirds (70%) said their companies do not have a good reputation for rewarding innovation, while 24% said they never even bother to tell anyone about their bright ideas.

George Cox is chairman of the Design Council, which is currently carrying out a review of the role of creativity in UK business on behalf of the DTI.

He said: “In a world where innovation is going to play an increasing part in economic success, Vodafone’s latest research puts the task facing the UK into perspective.

“Companies – and indeed public sector bodies – need both a culture for encouraging new ideas and a process for evaluating suggestions and doing something about them.”

The report shows that very small companies with up to five employees, are the best at generating new ideas – half of them giving staff formal thinking time.

In large corporations on the other hand, just 13% of the workforce see their ideas being regularly taken up.

Senior managers are much more likely than other staff to be rewarded for innovative ideas. Two-thirds of senior managers said they are formally encouraged to come up with ideas to develop products and services, compared with less than half of other workers.  

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