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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