The Innovation Paradox - Applied Creativity in Organizations

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					            The Innovation Paradox -

                 Applied Creativity
                 in Organizations
                                Avinoam Kolodny
                  Technion - Electrical Engineering Department

                                         June 2007


* F. Chu, A. Kolodny, S. Maital and D. Perlmutter, “The innovation paradox: Reconciling creativity
& discipline – How winning organizations combine inspiration with perspiration,” Proceedings of
IEEE International Engineering Management Conference, October 2004.

                                                                                                     1
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“… In every good project, there is a time
 when you have to shoot the engineer
 and start production”.
              (Anonymous Intel employee, CA ~1980)




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              Story:
The Chinese Emperor and the Painter




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        The Innovation Paradox
             Creativity and project implementation
              often require contradictory mindsets

Creativity                Project                   Organization

Chaos                      Discipline                Hierarchy
Innovation/Surprise        Predictability            Stability
Flexible time              Fixed schedule
Best effort                Guarantee                 Commitment
High risk                  Low risk                  Safety
Inspiration                Perspiration
Individual                                           Teamwork
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                Need Both:
       Creativity and Organization

   Win the competition by creativity
   Use organizational power to execute



     The conflicting values must be reconciled!


                    "‫סיסמה ניהולית: "גם וגם‬

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              Applied Creativity
   Method to reconcile creativity and discipline
   Not by tradeoff, by synergy!
                                   Creativity
                                   (inspiration)


Creativity            Discipline

                                                   Discipline
                                                   (perspiration)

   We identified five approaches to applied
    creativity, used by successful organizations

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         1) “The Great Dictator”
   A single creative leader
   Comes up with ideas
   Decides which of them to implement, and how
   The organization follows him in discipline mode




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2) “Separation of Forces”
              Arbitrator




 Creative                  Implementation
 Department                Department




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    3) “This Train Runs on Time”
   Separate project phases, driven by a timetable:
     – Ideation
     – Proof of concept
     – Prototyping
                                        Disciplined
     – Production
                                        Implementation


                                           Time


        Chaotic
        Creativity                                     9
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         4) “Elders of the Tribe”
   Ideas are advanced by young creative members
   Cross-examination by experienced members
   Culture:
     – Manage for discipline
     – Admiration of creativity




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         5) “Head in the Clouds,
             Feet on the Ground”
   Same people iteratively shift gears between
    creativity and discipline:
   Creative, wild brainstorming
     – No idea is rejected (“head in the clouds”)
   Detailed evaluation of ideas
     – By practicality and benefit (“feet on the ground”)




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     Challenges of
    Applied Creativity

    Conceiving new ideas

    Choosing a good idea

    Managing execution




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      What is the Right Approach
        for My Organization?
 There are probably many more ways to
  achieve Applied Creativity
 Find an approach which suits your
  organization’s
    – culture
    – structure
    – people
   Essential issue:
    Let the people know the organization’s
    problems and difficulties!

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