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Making corporations more creative

November 13, 2004

The theory that ideas have become the most important corporate asset has been much discussed and analyzed. However, most companies still partly rely on outsiders to bring creativity and ideas to them.

This industrial age thinking believes business’s main preoccupation lies with producing and managing things, developing ideas is the responsibility of a small internal group or outsourced to “creative professionals”.

There are now signs that this is changing and companies are keen to inspire their employees to think more creatively and come up with their own ideas.

Companies are using techniques that may have been ridiculed in the past to help inspire and make employees think differently. Improvisation workshops are one such area.

portland trailblazers and us bank do improv

Large corporations, like Unilever, are offering creative training as an option for all employees. Unilever’s UK project includes a photographic course where employees are encouraged to learn new ways to look at things.

bbc radio program on unilever uk’s project

IDEO, well known for its brilliant product design, now has a business teaching companies how to be creative. It’s taking its own successful internal process and allowing others to use it for there own needs.

ideo’s innovation workshop

Whether making employees creative really leads to better ideas can be debated. There’s a well-established theory that true creativity only exists in a tiny sample of the population and you either have it or you don’t. However, companies running these programs are likely to see benefits in employee morale and productivity, and for their external creative partners like ad and design agencies, it’s probably going to make for better clients.

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