Tom Craig, Senior Policy Executive – Entrepreneurship at Scottish Government gets animated about enterprise and argues that innovation is within all our grasp.
In my blog for last year’s event, I waxed lyrical about what enterprise lessons could be learned from an examination of the Disney movie ‘Inside Out’. Now, without apology, I return to the world of animation for a sequel.
A lot of people talk about creativity as if it were a special quality that some people have and some haven’t. Likewise innovation is often identified with ‘the other’ – usually big companies engaged in very technical pursuits. However, I believe this is simply contrary to reality. What innovation and creativity are really all about is mindset and the willingness to experiment.
For evidence I refer you to the Lego Movie. If you haven’t seen this, the story revolves around the good guys fighting a rebellion against an evil empire led by a particularly nasty villain called Lord Business (notice the negative stereotype). Lord Business is really the epitome of command and control culture – of a managerial approach to business where creativity and innovation are stifled by the desire of the top brass to minutely control all aspects of the organisation’s work. The result is sterility, passivity and a failure to change – embodied in the story by his dastardly use of something called The Kragle, which actually turns out to be Krazy Glue. Of course, the significance of using glue in a world of lego can hardly be missed. Glue is the very thing which will utterly destroy creativity, and the possibility of reinvention, by confining everything to a single pre-defined form.
In these fast-moving times especially, it strikes me that we do indeed need to think of our businesses in more fluid terms. Like Lego or some other product of that nature. As children, we thought nothing of building grand edifices/spaceships/whatever and then effectively destroying them to build newer and better creations, often in collaboration with other children. But as grown-ups too often we become wedded to single ideas and approaches, regardless of whether they continue to excite us or anyone else. Perhaps driven by fear and self-doubt more than anything else, we too often resort to the Kragle to give us a false sense of security in a fast-moving world. However, that only serves to make it harder for us to anticipate and adapt to change in the ways that are needed to survive.
One of the things that people constantly complain about is not being truly engaged in their work. Perhaps part of the reason for that is that their bosses don’t trust and empower them enough to make the small incremental changes, and suggest the bigger bolder ones, that will allow their organisations to not only survive but thrive in a continually changing marketplace. Innovation and creativity, in that sense, come neither from personality nor R&D but simply the willingness at all levels to allow people to experiment and apply their own genius to the problems faced by the organisation as a whole.
Better business in my view will only really come when we grasp that…and ditch the Kragle once and for all!
If these are the kind of themes that interest you, whether as the leader of a company or someone who is simply concerned to influence change where you work, then Venturefest Scotland 2017 may be just the event for you. Pre-register now to secure your place.