Conversation leads to creativity

Employers
should encourage their staff to talk if they want to encourage creativity and
innovation in the workplace.

An
Industrial Society report claims that the ‘head down, assembly-line culture’ of
UK business stifles the creation of new ideas and inventiveness.

Alex
McKie, the author of Virtual Value: Conversations, Ideas and the Creative
Economy, believes that encouraging conversations at work is the first step in
making the workplace more creative.

He
said: "All new ideas begin with conversation and if employers want to make
money, they have to invest time in allowing people to talk to each other. The
employer intent on stamping out idle chatter is likely to kill good ideas in
the process."

McKie
states that by working to measurable targets and a rigid chain of command
companies inhibit innovation. He argues that in the current business climate,
organisations only encourage creativity within the normal rules of business.

McKie
said the economic downturn has made the environment for creativity even more hostile
as managers become reluctant to allow people to deviate from established
working practices.

"Creativity
matters, and not just because it makes life more interesting and engaging, but
creativity makes business sense too," McKie said.

"Last
year, creativity was everyone’s favourite buzzword, now hyper rationality is
in, and anything that looks vaguely like a risk should be avoided.

"But
employers need to lighten up. Creativity is at the heart of successful
business. It is the source of innovation and future competitive
advantage."

He
recommends that employers break down hierarchies, so that ideas are not
disregarded because they have been suggested by junior members of staff.

By Paul Nelson

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