Introduction

Having great or innovative ideas is something most technology businesses thrive on and need to stay relevant. Perhaps even businesses traditionally associated with creative thinking. But should this concept be limited to only these businesses in today’s day and age?

I say no – it should apply to all businesses!

This is a question that has been occupying my mind for some time. Particularly in the context of businesses that are not narrowly considered to fit this proverbial creative mold.


So, what do I mean by great, innovative or even good ideas?

Well, I mean fresh and different – out of the box thinking. Today’s world is more connected than ever and consumers expect instant gratification. The effect of all of this, is that issues affecting business evolve at a much faster pace than ever before. In turn, this means that these problems require a very different type of problem solving skill – an innovative and out of the box approach. Not only in order to truly grasp the challenge at hand – but also to better understand this new client or customer’s expectations and how to rise to the challenge of meeting it.

In order to be truly innovative, I personally hold the view that truly embracing diversity is key. Truly embracing diversity and collaboration in teams – which leads to powerful ideas and problem solving. Not only for the organisation as it relates to the improvement of its own internal operations, but in client and customer service or product delivery.

Why is this relevant – what am I really getting at here?

We are living and operating in a world where the internet has made us more connected than ever before. Geographic gaps are smaller as a result and technology has made it possible to connect or do business instantaneously across the globe.

So, businesses need to stay informed and adjust their practices in order to remain relevant and competitive. Thus, in a sense – businesses need to adapt to survive.

But it’s not just about survival or about how technology has perhaps caused a ripple effect for many older businesses or traditionally run operations. It’s about a completely different way of thinking or cultivating a culture in your organisation that creates an environment or space where this type of thinking is encouraged and not suppressed.

The fact is that creative businesses such as those in marketing and advertising or technology based businesses seem to understand the necessity of this. The greatest success stories in these industries are testimony to this. Yet service based businesses and professionals often create the polar opposite and fairly autocratic organisations. This needs to change rapidly.

There is extensive theory to support an argument that an environment where creative and innovative thinking is encouraged, and where the diversity of the individuals in the team is embraced, leads to powerful idea generation and problem solving. The result of this is powerful concepts that are free flowing and an organisation that is more likely to easily adapt to challenges posed by an ever-changing world now ruled by instant connection, constantly being online and instant gratification.

Conclusion

To stay competitive and to solve problems more effectively, organisations need to embrace diversity in teams. This means truly appreciating the different perspectives of each of the individuals on the team. To encourage each team member to express themselves and to share their thoughts, ideas and challenges. Key to this end, is to create an environment for connection in the team and for exchange to happen in a way that supports this. This means the organisational structure and culture needs to align.

The key here is to construct all legal documents such as employment contracts, director agreements and HR and board policies in such a way to support and underpin this core objective. So, stock standard documents will not suffice! The solution needs to be constructed with the desired outcome in mind and the culture of the organisation be authentically shaped to honour this.