There has been an increasing focus on understanding how organisations are placing creativity at the centre of their strategies, process improvements and how creativity lies at the heart of entrepreneurialism, high performance and agility. There has also been a focus on the macro issues that will underlie economic growth and profitability.
The Boston Consulting Group’s 2010 strategy survey of 1600 executives found that creativity and innovation had returned to the top of the strategic agenda – a trend that had been evident since 2003. The executives felt that creativity was essential for successful recovery from the downturn. Further, the report suggested that companies in ‘mature’ economies are underestimating the importance of investment in innovation. The report predicts that a new world order will occur, because companies in ‘emerging’ economies are planning to invest far greater effort in promoting innovation. Similar themes were found in the Ernst & Young 2010 Connecting Innovation to Profit report.
The NESTA Everyday Innovation report found that creativity was perceived to be fundamental in improving products, processes and services.
Similarly, one of the respondents in the Ernst & Young 2010 Connecting Innovation to Profit report suggested that “We assume that 50% of our revenue in 5 years’ time must come from sources that do not exist today. That is why we innovate.” Respondents identified creativity as a key driver of new business processes.
The Ernst & Young 2010 Connecting Innovation to Profit report outlined the prominence of creativity for aggressively entrepreneurial companies. They conducted research with 263 entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries and 90% of the global economy. The entrepreneurs surveyed were judged by a jury of senior entrepreneurs and business leaders. The results indicated that “the ability to manage, organise, cultivate and nurture creative thinking is directly linked to growth and achievement”. Further, the report highlighted that “Innovation ‘for the sake of it’ is often essential, but the speed at which a fast-growth company moves forward will depend on its ability to connect creativity to profit.” Some of the key themes in the report centred around growth, business advantage, scalability, the identification of creative talent and the development of a culture of creativity. Below are some selected quotations from the report.
- 82% of the entrepreneurs strongly agreed that innovation was critical to the growth of their business. The same percentage said it was the one genuine advantage they had over their rivals.
- Fast-growth companies need to make innovation a predictable, scalable activity. It has to be nurtured, managed.
- Successful fast-growth companies looked to innovate and encourage creativity in areas not normally considered like human resources and finance.
- 77% of respondents believed that a key driver of creative performance involved the identification and hiring of creative people.
- As entrepreneurial businesses grow, they need to protect the free-thinking, creative behaviors that launched them on their journey to market leadership. They need to foster a culture of creativity.