How common is this predicament: senior leaders have asked for more creativity, but then shoot down the novel suggestions they receive. Organizations seek creativity to grow and improve, but simultaneously shun the groundbreaking results of their creative focus. A recent article on CNN.com outlines the bias against creativity: the folly of seeking certainty.
Our ancestors learned to seek certainty and predictability to ensure our survival, and now our organizations’ needs to change and try new things is suffering. The author of the CNN article postulates that we often believe that an idea can be either practical or creative, but usually not both at once, and that leaves people subconsciously categorizing creativity as a luxury.
But, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. To get through tough times, the tough need to get creative. This means that researchers need to break through their own unconscious barriers to creativity to come up with true insight, and also the barriers put up by business partners to get the insight acted upon. No sweat right?
Break through your own need for certainty
We need to foster comfort with uncertainty, which can be hard for those of us who find comfort in data. But the best insights are created in departments that foster an open, creative culture:
- Assert judgments based on information and experience rather than simply relying on project outcomes. As researchers we have a wealth of past experience and business exposure to draw from: Use It!
- Utilize your judgment to push research projects forward. Hypothesize early and often throughout the research process to ensure research is finding true, new innovation.
Inject your insights into your company’s natural learning patterns
Our research found that 90% of executive decisions are being made based on “gut instinct” and/or insights and information from non-Research sources. So how can you get your decision makers to utilize your insights, especially when your recommendations are a bit out of the box?
- Spread newsworthy information in existing information flows. Raise Research’s visibility by tapping existing information flows in your organization.
- Engineer learning moments to correct executives’ overconfidence and misconceptions. Don’t be afraid to attach executive confidence—creating emotional interactions can break and rebuild customer understanding.
- The Best Time of Day to be Creative? Not When you Think
- 6 Creativity Killers
- Research: Turn Creativity into Insight
- Boost Your Insight Creativity the Psychological Way