Creativity: Is Fear holding back Innovation?

We all have ideas... ways to improve a current situation, ways to help others, ways to innovate, ways to revolutionise. But does our fear of negative outcomes hold us back from unleashing our true potential? The most common disincentives for creativity and innovation arise in an atmosphere of fear; fear of being penalised for failure, fear of not getting adequate administrative support, or fear of not having enough time.

In examining common practices that get in the way of creativity and innovation, Hickman and Silvan have devel- oped a list of six common blinders that keep leaders from creativeness and innovation. They are

  1. Resistance to change,
  2. Reliance on rules and conformance,
  3. Fear and self-doubt,
  4. Over reliance on logic and precision,
  5. Black and white thinking, and
  6. Over reliance on practicality and efficiency.
The study showed that, creative people are more likely to be non-conformist, not only in their thinking but sometimes in their attitudes and behavior. If such people are valued in an organisation for what their ideas can do for the group, then a certain amount of tolerance for unconventional behavior is the price that has to be paid. How can we inject a little of this into people to encourage them to speak up, share their ideas or run with an innovation?

Creativity is a powerful catch phrase. In Western societies it epitomises success, the modern, trends for novelty and excitement. Whether linked to individuals, enterprises, cities or regions creativity establishes immediate empathy, and conveys an image of dynamism. Creativity is a positive word in a society constantly aspiring to innovation and “progress”. Eurporean Affair, 2009.

Culture is the general expression of humanity, the expression of its creativity. Culture is linked to meaning, knowledge, talents, industries, civilisation and values. The objective of the study is to have a better understanding of the influence of culture on creativity, a motor of economic and social innovation. Does music, visual art, cinema and poetry for instance contribute to creativity as a way to stimulate job creation, economic prosperity, learning and social cohesion? What is the impact of artistic creation on innovation? Why do companies want to be associated with culture and art? What is the social function of artistic and cultural creativity?

So how does one build culture that encourages the open expression of creativity?

Asian markets have amazing potential to shift the economic power, but do they have the creative leaders to drive the change? This question puzzles me everyday, as I search for a means to drive change in the region. I extend and open invitation to anyone that wants to help in this transformation.