Investigations reveal corporate policies and practices are killing creativity and innovation

Business leaders at global convention warned of dull and monotonous organisations and advised to engage with the creative arts
By: Policy Publications
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas
Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas
PETERBOROUGH, U.K. - April 23, 2017 - PRLog -- Directors and boards have a lot to answer for, according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. Speaking at a global convention and world congress in Dubai he claimed: "Many corporate policies, rules, regulations, guidelines and practices reflect past views, priorities and understanding. Enforcing compliance with them can stifle questioning and challenge. It can inhibit the search for new and better alternatives. Too many organisations exude a dull and monotonous uniformity. No wonder so many creative ideas originate outside of the workplace."

The author of "Winning Companies, Winning People" advised: "If you feel particular constraints are necessary and desirable, make sure their rationale is understood. Reward people for considering better ways of achieving their original purpose. Encourage diversity. What about different strategies, policies, processes and practices according to requirements, circumstances and possibilities?"

Coulson-Thomas suggested: "Contending interests and competing solutions threaten some people. Others perceive differences of opinion as healthy. They believe that encouraging debate is more conducive of creativity and innovation than imposing single solutions." He warned: "Be wary of rigidity and bureaucracy. Network organisations can embrace customers and business partners. They can support co-creation and grow organically. Collaboration with customers and iterative development can speed up adaptation and innovation."

The professor identifies two distinct cultures in many organisations: "Some people think in a logical and structured way. They prefer order and standardisation, and too often they hold sway. Others are more tolerant of uncertainty. They favour variety and welcome diversity. They look for links, patterns and relationships. They can simultaneously explore in different arenas. We need more of them. Throughout history breakthroughs in thinking have been caused by outsiders who challenged orthodoxy."

During its golden years, Xerox PARC recruited degree majors from disciplines that approached problems differently. Introducing them into research groups increased creativity. Coulson-Thomas challenged delegates at the convention: "Do you look beyond the normal suspects? Are you alert to curious and restless explorers? Might greater exposure to the creative arts stimulate creativity in your organisation? Might collaboration with creative artists unleash energy and ignite thinking?"

Coulson-Thomas believes: "Creative artists in residence and creative arts activities can stimulate imagination, innovation and entrepreneurship across work groups, communities and organisations. The requirements for effective corporate leadership and successful entrepreneurship are converging. In some contexts they may soon overlap to such an extent as to be almost indistinguishable."

An experienced director, Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas advises boards and has helped directors in over 40 countries to improve board and corporate performance. He was sharing key lessons from his recent investigations during a plenary session of the Dubai Global Convention 2017 and 27th World Congress on Business Excellence and Innovation which was held at the Hotel The Grand Hyatt, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas leads the International Governance Initiative of the Order of St Lazarus, is Chancellor of the School for the Creative Arts, Director-General, IOD India, UK and Europe, and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of United Learning. Author of over 60 books and reports he has held professorial appointments in Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, India and China. Colin was educated at the LSE, London Business School, UNISA and the Universities of Aston, Chicago and Southern California, is a fellow of seven chartered bodies and obtained first place prizes in the final exams of three professions. Details of his latest books and reports can be found on:

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