“Do executives really value creativity?”
This was the question asked by the Wall Street Journal recently. The article quoted Adobe chief strategist Mark Randall, who said that executives rated creativity higher than integrity and global thinking in the success of their employees. “Managers understand that innovation is the key,” said Randall.
This assertion that managers perceive the need for innovation, and that companies value creativity, appears at odds with the evidence. Companies manage to conformity. The management expert, Gary Hamel, has criticized the persistence of managerial practices that preserve the organizational status quo rather than fostering the uncertainty necessary for realizing potential. As Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant boldly assert in their book, Humanize, “Best practices are evil.”
Too often, management lacks the courage to allow for the unpredictability of randomness. Yet, as illustrated in the examples referenced on this website’s Squish for Business page and in several posts on this blog, it is precisely that deliberate act of being open to serendipity, unmediated engagement and inquisitive conversation that has enabled many of the most notable entrepreneurial, social, and cultural breakthroughs in the last few centuries.
The question then is, do you have the courage to free your organization and allow people to engage in meaningful, organic, conversational experiences?