Creativity and making connections: "the patchwork of entrepreneurial opportunity" (II).
The overall desire of an individual or enterprise is to be in a position to understand how the future will be shaped and determine how they can benefit. Stating this in a slightly more confident manner could be rephrased as 'how can the individual or enterprise through its plans and actions influence and shape the future (market) where they can beneft?' Success in enterprise depends on thinking and acting upon a 'more or less ' correctly imagined future situation.
Predicting the future accurately is impossibility. This is because future events have not yet happened. Therefore we cannot know for sure that any event will happen. However what we do know is the present and we also know the past from our own personal perspectives, so that we have some idea about the probability of something occurring like a scheduled meeting or TV program, etc. More generally what we know from the immediate past and the present gives us a strong indication about what is most likely to happen in the immediate future, excepting unexpected events and disasters. Through our constructs we basically make predictions from observing the development and momentum of trends in the past and present and assume that they will continue into the future Kelly (1955).
This is how John Naisbitt (1982) wrote Megatrends through astutely picking up on emerging trends and extrapolating them until they have a futuristic major effect upon our lives. Insignificant events can build to a critical mass, from where something new emerges in a significant way (Gladwell 2000). Most management theories are developed from past events and history where the theory fits the facts and is able to explain the past very well. However when orientating these theories towards the future they become less than accurate. This may be partly explained by the ever changing factors (social, economic, technological or regulatory), either subtly or significantly thereby creating new conditions which the original theories were not designed to account for.
The popularized Nostradamus himself also seemed to rely on the past to predict the future when writing the quatrains of Les Propheties. Nostradamus assumed that many central historical themes would always repeat themselves from century to century regardless of our learning and considered advancement. Moreover it strongly appears that Nostradamus was influenced by and borrowed from the work of past and contemporary writers of his time (Lemesurier 2003). This should not be of any great shock to anyone, as the bulk of ideas and new products appearing onto a market, usually bare great resemblance to other ideas and products already existing in the market. Pure originality and novel innovation is actually a rare commodity. (24)
With inside industry and market knowledge a person develops an understanding about how a field operates in terms of; who are the players?, how do consumers behave?, are they generally satisfied with what is on offer to them?, who are the suppliers?, how important are they?, which stakeholders seem to have strong influence?, what important skills and capabilities are necessary to succeed?, who is strong and weak in them?, what resources are needed?, where can these resources be obtained?, who do you need to now in this field to get things done?, where does the research and innovation come from?, and very importantly, what direction is the industry going? A person with industry and market knowledge will understand the implications of and relationships between these questions. An insider has opinions, intuition, ideas, and hypotheses about how things work and why they might influence the future. When a person makes predictions and they are validated through becoming reality, a person's confidence in their own 'hypotheses ' can make a person feel confident, (25) maybe confident enough to do something that may have some impact on shaping the future.
A person 'emotionally embedded' within the industry will feel how things work, how the supply chain is interrelated, where it is strong and where it is weak. He or she knows the players, their competencies, their weaknesses, their triumphs and their failures. He or she will know how reactive multinationals are to the local market and how local companies are experts of developing small niches that maintain their place in the market. Knowing how reactive or proactive a multinational company is in the marketplace is one of the bits of information that may have great significance in the concept of opportunity. This may go completely unnoticed to an industry outsider.
When a person sees the industry evolving and the small steps of incremental evolution within it, they will normally be in a good position to anticipate the future of the industry based on their own specific prior knowledge. This is the potential platform for insight that only insiders have. One can see product evolution like one sees a family tree emerge over a few generations. The products in the market have profound meaning to the insider, who knows what has been and is excited about what will be. This is the point where an insider can visualize the future. To the outsider, 'raw Information' without rich background knowledge is nothing without knowing the background. Background knowledge is necessary to make order out of the chaos that others see.
Through experiencing the industry and being aware of change, a person develops their unique mental map or 'self hypothesis' of meaning about what, how, why and where the industry is going. A sensitive person will see changes in the factors that influence the industry over time; one day about consumer sentiments, another day about technology, yet another about government intervention and regulation, another about competitor actions, and emerging technologies and their significance. This all digests, is simplified as it incubates, cooks up, is twisted and turned until, 'bingo', an opportunity lies there starring the person in the face, which no one else or not many people have seen. This is the moment when you have put all your money on the number 16 on the roulette table and the number comes up. Excitement and passion emerges. It is not about the money but about doing something successful that no one else has done, climbing the Mount Everest of the field.
Through being exposed to the field day in, day out, our cognitive processes can create associations that we don't normally consider, think of consciously or connect together. This may happen when we drive to work, drive home from work, have dinner, go for a walk, or have a shower. Everything from the environment we experience is felt with emotion. These complex factors spanning the group of factors that cause opportunity gaps are simplified into new concepts. This happens when we are away from the work environment that allows repressed material to emerge and be reorganized into new associations. All the information about the environment has worked itself up from the basic into new insights and concepts.
The insights about new ideas, potential opportunities and strategies are not the product of any rational thought processes or CPS tools. They are totally intuitive, or 'gut feel ', which through retrospective logic can be rationalized as a 'good idea ', 'something sensible ' and 'something worth going after '. The many potential combinations of the four major opportunity gap drivers (social, economic, technology and government), mixed with market themes, market channels, and competition, with something random or unexpected lead to an infinite number of potential combinations, of which only a few are sound opportunities. What is important is whether the identified, discovered or constructed opportunity can influence the future, even if at the time of contemplating the opportunity, we are not sure what the actual future will be. This is the foresight that some people have that can change the direction of the future?
Through connecting a trend to a current product, one can see potential new value, if consumers also perceive it. If the innovation is radical and new to the world, a breakthrough may occur, and once again if accepted by the consumer, a new industry may be born. Seeing social trends into the future will help one imagine new ideas about products and new products as well. Changing economic conditions can quickly change consumer habits and reading this correctly can lead to new forms of existing products and new products where incongruities exist. Modified, borrowed or new technology can change the way things are done and lead to leaps and bounds in product and market evolution. Government regulation can end a product and give birth to a new product, and dictate where and how things can be sold. Constantly evolving market themes and channels, and the effects of competition change the vector of the metaphorical line we travel along. Without change, this line extends the past and present into the future without deviation. However with any change of the opportunity gap drivers, the line will deviate upwards or downwards depending upon the scope of the change. Incremental changes will develop new market segments like new types of shampoo like 2 in 1 or sugarless carbonated drinks. A major technological breakthrough may create a totally new industry like the home computer industry in the 1970s or the mobile phone industry in the 1980s. Where we can go from the present to the future is pictorially portrayed is a matter of how we construct the new opportunity and its leveraging in the field as shown in Figure 25.
The opportunity actualization process requires sub-conscious incubation something similar to the process of meditation that Shapiro describes (1984). During meditation a person sees the whole field through 'wide-angle-lens ' with attention focusing on a broad range of ideas and elements of the environment. This allows various elements to be opened up for further observation and sub-conscious contemplation. Then the mind switches to a 'zoom lens ' attention on certain aspects of the field in a concentrative way. There is a shift between these two strategies until some elements can be seen both through concentration and holistic mindfulness, which takes a person above the patterning their mind is used to (Abdullah and Schuchman 1976). A person starts to recognize recurrent themes and repetitions that can be extended into the future. This enables a person to extend their own existing constructions to see things in new ways where their construct or own view of reality is altered, through making new associations of knowledge to create a new construct or hypothesis about the future (Kelly 1955). As each person constructs the world differently, a person's observations and hypothesis about the future is likely to be relatively unique. (26)
To see opportunities within an industry requires domain knowledge. However domain knowledge through the rigid patterning it can create can also 'lock' a person into the way the domain thinks. The person has to be able to break out of these patterns to be able to see things in fresh ways. In hindsight new ideas and concepts that have changed a market or changed an industry will appear very simple and extremely logical. However the process of discovering these opportunities is far from a logical process. It has required novel and divergent thinking away from the existing industry patterns. In essence a new opportunity is in fact a new construct about the realities they experience in the field.
This process of foresight that assists in discovering new opportunities within an industry is based on a mix of insight, imagination, analysis and action. This is a four stage creativity process where a person through environmental data, clarifies the problems, and then develops his or her own ideas. These are developed and refined until a stage comes for taking action upon them. According to Puccio (2002) some people at better than others at each stage of this process. Puccio (2002) has developed a creativity style assessment tool to determine people's strengths and weaknesses in this process by giving four individual scores. Basically 'clarifiers ' are focused, orderly, serious, methodical and deliberate, 'ideators ' are playful, social, flexible, independent, imaginative, adaptable and adventurous, 'developers ' are reflective, pragmatic, cautious and structured, and 'implementers ' are persistent, determined, action orientated, decisive and assertive (Puccio 2002, pp. 8-11). Some people may be a high 'clarifier ', while others may be a high 'developer ', 'implementer ' and 'finisher '.
Another way of developing new product and market combinations is through the use of morphological diagrams discussed previously in this article. One can plot potential new combinations along the axis and look for new combinations of a product and how new strategic directions could be taken for the product could be put together. This can develop quite a large number of potential new product and strategy ideas. The key to this exercise is to find new degrees of freedom for a product and strategy that hasn't been used in the marketplace where competitive differentiation can be achieved. As mentioned previously anything new in the world is usually made up of known elements recombined in different ways, which leads onto the next method of reengineering.
Michael Hammer published an article in the Harvard Business Review in 1990 proposing a radical rethink and redesign of business processes to achieve radical improvements in performance, cost, quality, service and speed. Hammer expanded upon this philosophy with James Champy in 1993 with their seminal book Reengineering the Corporation, advocating the complete analysis of all business processes in a company and redesigning them in the most efficient way possible to eliminate all wastage. This was based on the premise that when companies grow, they develop processes in ad hoc ways which develop complacency and inefficiency as the firm becomes set in the ways it does things. Moreover the processes and company goals are based on assumptions about technologies, people and processes that are no longer valid. The tool that Hammer and Champy (1993) proposed to radically change the nature of the enterprise was business process reengineering (BPR).
Rohit Talwar (1993) defined reengineering in a much broader sense. Talwar, like Hammer and Champy proposed starting from a clean slate, where the company would be completely redefined with long terms goals, its competencies and competitive strategy to create maximum value to customers and shareholders. Cross et al. (1994) saw that traditional business models were being challenged and there was a need for companies to go beyond continuous improvement and quality programs where old assumptions about technology, people and organizations goals could be changed in favor of relevant ones. They quoted the cases of the US Post office ignoring the growth of Federal Express, US car manufacturers ignoring the advent of Japanese luxury cars, Sears building a tower, while Wal-Mart opened new outlets, the decline of research libraries as electronic journals came online, CNN using one person crews reporting through the internet, while other networks saw this as insignificant, IBM's malaise about Apple in the 1980s and Microsoft in the 1990s, and the decline of Wang Computer and Digital Equipment due to failure to see market shifts, as examples where irrelevancy set in. Reengineering has facilitated the rise of new business models to deliver products and services like Dell and Amazon books, online auctions at eBay, the way the Toyota Scion is at Gen Y consumers, through custom design and ordering, and low cost airlines, etc.
Certainly creativity has not been associated with reengineering. However reengineering, perhaps more aptly called reconfiguration, as a broad conceptual approach has the potential to realign and reorganize a firm so that it aligned to new and emerging opportunities, thus leaving declining or closing opportunity windows the firm has been servicing. In the light that firms have limited lifecycles, reengineering is the tool that maintains a firm's relevance to the opportunity environment. It is the major creativity tool a firm could use to maintain its survival. Reengineering is important for a firm in the growth and maturity stages, where processes developed soon after start-up, are found not to be as efficient as they could be. Efficiency is important to competitiveness and profitability. Without an overhaul of the business, there is risk that newer companies will become more competitive, leaving the original firm at disadvantage.
A firm must reengineer itself, (27) every time it reassesses its opportunities and aligns its objectives and strategies towards the shifting opportunity landscape. The business model must be reconstructed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of the planned strategies. The pursuit of new opportunities requires a complete reassessment of goals, objectives, strategies, processes, structure, competencies, resources, and networks to succeed. Today the difference between survival and success is little. To survive a firm must be successful, anything less will be unsustainable in some aspect. Therefore the change in pursuit of opportunities must also bring transformation within the organization; otherwise any new opportunity will not be exploited effectively. Reconfiguration is the tool of organizational realignment.
Reengineering is not a new tool; it is what an organization needs to do to survive. As Foster and Kaplan (2001) showed in their study, the turnover rate of S&P companies is nearly 10% where a firm may survive in the S&P 500 list for no more than 10 years. Therefore by 2020 around 75% of companies on the S&P list will consist of companies we don't know today. These will be new companies that have aligned themselves with newly discovered opportunities. Thus competitive advantage in an industry will depend upon how well a company's goals, strategies, networks, organization and business models, skills, competencies and technologies and resources are aligned with the identified opportunity. Older companies formed around an opportunity identified in the past will tend to be aligned with that past opportunity. But the opportunity itself slowly drifts as consumer tastes evolve, demographics change, and technologies evolve, etc. From the competitive side, disruptive innovation, creative destruction and competitive imagination move opportunity (March 1991, Hamel 2000).
This is why sometimes a new company can create a value chain that is more aligned with the opportunity at hand, with great advantages over existing companies that are aligned against opportunities that were identified in the past. The new company is more up to date with its goals, networks, strategies, skills, competencies and technologies, and resources than existing companies in the industry that have not realigned their companies with the new characteristics of shifting opportunity. The newcomer to the market isn't burdened by the need to adapt and realign itself to the shifting opportunity and is freer to be creative and innovate. This is why some new firms quickly disrupt markets and take the initiative away from the incumbent companies in the market. Figure 26 shows how a firm must be continually reengineered to maintain its relevance to the opportunity landscape.
The position of opportunity (28) and the theoretically best corresponding value chain configuration to exploit it is made up of how a firm sets goals, crafts strategies, supports strategy with a an organizational structure and business model, skills, competences and technologies utilized allocated resources and supporting networks of stakeholders. This configuration must be continually monitored to maintain the maximum configuration effectiveness as the opportunity landscape is continually changing. The configuration is manifested by the level of competitiveness it generates relative to any competitors.
Reengineering became a new 'buzzword' in the mid 1990s. However many critics saw reengineering as a return to the days of Taylorism and Scientific Management, (29) while others criticized it as a lean excuse for redundancies, which were being forced upon many corporations due to the advent of information technology that was reducing the need for employees. One of the greatest problems with the philosophy was that executives were only too willing to cut down aspects of the organization that didn't personally affect them, but were loathed to do anything that would affect their own livelihoods. As Hammer himself said that executives were the ones themselves that undermined the very structure of their rebuilt enterprises (Champy 1995). Consequently reengineering became another management 'catch cry ' bringing in large revenues for CSC Management Consultancy, which James Champy was principal. (30) Companies like Hallmark Cards and Kodak in the US successfully applied reengineering with very positive results, BPR became so much associated with redundancies, and it forced a change of name to Business Process Improvement (BPI).
Although Reengineering became a 'distrusted' word in business, the dogmatic 'self proclaimed manifesto' Reengineering the Corporation highlighted that corporations need to change and transform themselves to survive. For change and transformation to occur people need to support it. One would expect that in the near future broader and more subtle concepts or reengineering, under a different name will emerge.
A second common form of reengineering is product reengineering. Product reengineering involves the examination, inspection and breaking down the physical parts of an existing product in the market to determine what it is made of and how it was manufactured. In reality, the majority of new to the world products (31) launched into the marketplace each year is only about 10% of the total number new products. Therefore 90% of all products launched into the marketplace resemble existing products already in existence (Kleinschmidt and Cooper 1991). (32) Therefore in some form or another, the majority of new product development is benchmarked on existing products in the marketplace. A firm will work backwards to learn how to produce a variation of that product, with or without enhancements. Through product reengineering, post World War II Japanese industry learnt how to manufacture numerous different types of products, which they eventually enhanced into products of superior quality to their Western competitors (Kotler et al. 1985).
The product reengineering process begins with a full examination of existing products in the market. The functions and benefits to consumers are fully appraised. Products are also tested for their efficacy, performance and durability in product trials while other samples are slowly deconstructed to determine the materials used in their production and how they were manufactured. All characteristics of the products including what consumer benefits are used to develop a set of specifications for the new product to be developed. At this point, the most probable production methods are appraised and deductions made on probable processes from initial product examinations, as guidelines.
The full product technical and market specifications developed act as a roadmap for the following product development task. (33) Based on examination of existing products, the development team will have some fairly good ideas about what types of materials to use, how to develop the manufacturing processes and what marketing features they want. At this stage the team may or may not decide to develop an enhanced product by adding new features or design improvements over what already exists in the marketplace. An example of the market and technical specifications required for the product development process is listed in a concept generation checklist in shown back in Table 3 (Hunter 2009). Patents and other intellectual property issues are also examined both as a guide to the development process (34) and a check to ensure the company does not breach any 'intellectual rights' attributable to any other companies.
Once the concept generation list is completed, trial formulations, trial production processes and prototype products can be developed, tested and reassessed. Prototype products can be trialed in real conditions either by company staff or through consumer focus group tests. This is a period of trial and error where learning comes from results, providing some insights so modifications to be made to materials and production processes. Product issues that require further improvement will undergo further formulation and/or process development. Eventually when all the faults are eliminated from product prototypes and production processes are effective and efficient, the product will be ready for a launch into the market. This whole product reengineering process is shown in Figure 27.
Another creativity tool related to reengineering is W. Kim Chan and Renee Mauborgne's (2005) strategy canvass. The strategy canvass acts as a means to examine competitors product attributes or principals (as the authors call them), such as price, image, consumer awareness, (35) etc, so that a new product's attributes and product strategy can be developed. The product attributes make up the total product proposition that are points of competition across the market. A line drawn across the product attributes becomes what is known as the value curve, a graphic depiction of a product's value position. Once this benchmark is determined, it can be analyzed using a framework of questions (four actions framework) to create other important attributes that a new product will make its proposed value proposition upon. As the strategy canvass technique breaks up products into their individual product attributes to facilitate the building of a product with a new set of attributes as a benchmark, this technique can also be considered a form of product reengineering based on breaking down the product value components.
Concepts can be extracted and synergized from unrelated locations, objects and other business models. For example, a person may secure a particular location and wish to create some form of business model that would serve potential customers within that location. Potential young customers around the precinct of a university like to gather at near campus restaurants or coffee lounges for snacks and social gatherings. The general characteristics of a generic fast-food business is that it is cheap, has a good standard of hygiene, good service, fast and efficient, specializing in a particular food, people know what to expect and a meeting place for people. After study of the situation some of the characteristics of a generic fast-food business can be extracted according to what the potential entrepreneur feels are most important to the potential clientele of the potential location and a new concept constructed. A hypothetical result might be a charcoal BBQ Burger Grill which is conveniently located, cheap and affordable, has good service, a unique and tasty charcoal grill, and is a convenient meeting place with WiFi, etc. This is called concept extraction where the potentially successful elements of a concept are synergized together to create a new idea. This is shown pictorially in Figure 28.
2. The Barriers to Creativity
As we have seen, creativity comprises of a combination of expertise, motivation and our creative thinking skills. Expertise includes all our knowledge and experience, including technical, practical, and tacit knowledge. There are various forms of motivation, but it is the implicit forms that are most influential in driving our will to be creative. Our creative skills and ways we think are important tools to produce a new idea or solution to a problem. Our creativity also depends upon our sensitivity, focus, attention, curiosity, imagination, energy and our ego.
However just as some factors promote the ability to be creative, creativity can be blocked and a person prevented from seeing new associations and solutions to problems. This can happen both to the individual, and at the social and organizational levels. This rest of this section will outline some of the individual and organizational blocks to creativity.
2.1. Early Creativity and Social Blocks
During our early years we tend to be uninhibited in what we do. Our drawings, acting (or mimicking) and views of the world may be naive, but uninhibited. We are imaginative and fantasize much more easily than when we are adults. In the pre-computer, TV and multi-media world, it was often our own imagination that kept us entertained building sandcastles, mud houses, cubby houses, doll enactments and plays, etc, imitating the world we know. (36) Our creative tools also helped us to make sense of the world we were growing up in through wishing, rearranging, structuring, and imagining. These tools are vital parts of the learning process.
As we get older and go to school we learn our logical sides and slowly drop the artistic and creative sides in favour of 'life skills'. The memory retention orientation of our early education systems (and those still in Asia and Africa today) very quickly diminish our creative tendencies. Parent and society expectation put high value on professions like law, medicine, engineering, science and business. Art, acting, sculpturing, painting, writing and dramatic careers tend to be gauged as fantasy occupations that are not for the rational to pursue. The steering of career orientation and rejections, criticisms and humiliations during the early stages of our learning affect our views and can dampen any natural creative tendencies (Prince et al. 2000). We are very sensitive to criticism, rejection and humiliation and in most cases usually willing to change our behavior to maintain acceptance from others. We start to lose our creative skills like fantasy, imagination, wishing, transforming and comparing, replacing them with psychological blocks that in extreme form resemble various forms of psychosis.
2.2. Mental Models and Mental Blocks
Mental models are articulated concepts of how we manage our relationships, our interactions with the environment and our general view of the world. Our mental model is the sum of all our schemata and scripts, our total knowledge. Mental models act as templates to provide meaning to what we see in the world.
But just as mental models guide us, mental models tend to be relatively rigid and can also blind us to other potential possibilities. Our psych has a vested interest in rigidity because if our mental models are challenged by what we see, they can break down and lead to uncertainty and ambiguity where stress and anxiety will develop.
Conceptual blocks stop thinking processes through unconscious mental blocks. Mental blocks affect us in different ways, where various filters or patterning upon our perceptions or prevent us from letting ideas emerge from our sub-conscious (Prince 1998). Our senses are optimized for our everyday survival. For example, if we live in an area well known for snakes running across housing estates, we will tend to be alert for this type of danger. Many dangers to us are more subtle than that and our mind utilizes various strategies to protect the person.
James Adams (1979) compiled a list of conceptual blocks, classifying them as perceptual blocks, which confuse data coming from our senses and disrupt the way our mind manages that data, emotional blocks where our emotions and desires interfere with our ability to form thoughts, cultural blocks that place acceptability limitations on what we think and do, environmental blocks where we incur physical distractions, and intellectual and expressive blocks which deal with problem solving strategies. Many blocks also have undesirable side effects because we utilize them as long term strategies rather than short term tactics when prehistoric humankind had to utilize fight/flight responses to mortal dangers. A summary of some of the different types of conceptual blocks are listed in Table 7.
Some of the heuristics listed above assist an individual on an everyday basis to solve problems. They are short cuts in judgments that are convenient and save time by cutting down on the complexity. However the above listed heuristics can also prove to be great flaws in our perception and reasoning as they produce misconceptions. (38)
2.3. Limited Domain Knowledge
Quite often our mental models are flawed, which often lead to individuals using the wrong analogies and therefore missing meaning (Kempton 1986). We often misunderstand how things really work and make decisions based on our misconceptions. Limited domain knowledge can handicap a person in being able to frame a problem (Proffitt et al. 1990). Even if a problem can be framed, we may use the appropriate information, may use it inappropriately or fail to use the information at all to solve the problem. Instruction, training and knowledge in a domain assists our ability to reason within it. However that training within a discipline may not always eliminate mis-beliefs (Kozhevnikov and Hegarty 2001).
As technology becomes more advanced and problems require a multi-disciplined view to develop a comprehensive understanding, any single individual may lack the knowledge required to deal with the issues involved. Therefore greater reliance on teams that can look at issues from multiple disciplines is desirable. Professionals entering the workforce in the future are likely to have some background in more than one discipline. An example where multiple disciplines are needed is in the case of the analysis of essential oils from plants. Essential oils are natural aromatic substances derived from plants through distillation that exhibit a usually complex odor. To be able to analyze an essential oil, a person needs to understand the domains of chemistry, bio chemistry, botany, thermodynamics, and analytical chemistry (Hunter 1994). The analytical equipment used in the analysis of the essential oil, a Gas Chromatograph Mass-Spectrometer may identify compound X as present. However our botany and biochemistry knowledge enables us to understand whether it is possible for compound X to exist, due to the way the plant synthesizes its metabolites. Consequently another compound with a similar structure may be present in compound X's place, leading to the identification of a different compound (Hunter 2009, p. 160). Figure 29 shows the merging of domains that is required to analyze essential oils within plants. Many tasks are now extremely complex and require synergized views of problems to solve them.
2.4. Organizational Barriers
About half of new companies close their doors within the first five years of operations. Out of the five remaining, four will survive into their tenth year and three into their fifteenth year of operation (Birch 1987). Among the large corporations listed in the Fortune 500 between 1970 and 1986, almost one third vanished completely (de Geus 1988). Historically company excellence only lasts a short time, where the average life-cycle of a company is around 40 years (Collins 2001). Peter Drucker espoused that companies are only entrepreneurial in the early stages of their life, where after establishment they slip into the guise of being an ordinarily managed company (Drucker 1986).
A company's decline does not usually occur from the lack of resources, information, knowledge or finance. The company's decline occurs because of a changing environment that is not detected. To sustain a company new ideas are needed to exploit evolving and transforming opportunities, as well as develop the strategies required to achieve successful exploitation. This requires creativity.
Any opportunity has a limited lifecycle. As the opportunity drifts, companies require new technologies, new products and/or new ways in delivering products and services to maintain their relevance in the market. A company can only survive as long as an opportunity remains viable and the company is aligned with it. This may mean that new ideas and strategies based on new technologies, the development of products (and the cessation of old products), the entry into new markets or the development of new ways of doing business is needed to maintain that alignment.
Companies over time can become rigid and develop an egocentric manner. The management sees the company as the centre of the field, the market or industry leader where nothing can harm them. A number of conditions develop within organizations that make management within them lose their sense of adventure, entrepreneurship, and creativity. These conditions will be discussed in the following sections.
2.5. Compartmentalized Thinking
One of the characteristics of a maturing company is its division into compartments or departments which tend to influence how people within the organization look at the environment. People tend to take the points of view of their specialized departments. The fun that was shared through formation and early growth is switched for the more formal functional processes of production, procurement, administration, sales, marketing and finance, etc. Departmentalization discourages an environmental wide view of things, in favor of narrower departmental and disciplinary approaches.
Although specialization has always been assumed to bring efficiency, this is sometimes questionable from the organizational point of view. The potential efficiencies that can be gained from increased specialization can lead to the loss of interdisciplinary thinking within the organization, as people tend to look only from their departmental points of view. The disadvantages of departmentalization can be seen in the example of cars built in Detroit during the 1960's and 1970's where different sized bolts where used in different parts of the car, leading to increased costs and the need for more inventory items, just because the car was designed from different functional perspectives. This was in stark contrast to the Japanese cars that were manufactured with common bolts to streamline the production and procurement processes. Departmentalization can hinder company integration where departments become egocentrically concerned with their 'turf' and position, often leading to conflicts and power struggles within interdepartmental relationships. This diverts energy, focus and attention away from creativity towards maintaining the interdepartmental status quo within the organization.
Hierarchy automatically builds in assumptions about how information flows, the nature of connections between the different components of the organization and outside stakeholders, and how power and influence operates. Organizations will also have a desired level of diversity within it, either by deliberate design, policy, or through the influence informal conformity to norms by those responsible for selecting new personnel. (39) An organization will also tend to have entropy towards the maintaining the status quo or being amicable towards continuous change.
According to Stacey (1996) how organizations tackle these organizational dimensions will have enormous influence over the level of creativity and innovation. Information flows within a traditional hierarchy where authority is important will be on a strictly need to know basis. Information will be a protected commodity accessed only by those in authority. Ideas will flow from the top down the hierarchy, where the lower levels are only responsible for implementation under supervision. There will be no room within an authoritative hierarchy where power-distance is high for ideas to flow from the bottom up. In those types of organizations people are not expected to think outside established rules and processes. In fact thinking outside established rules and procedures would land a person into trouble.
In highly controlled organizations, communication up and down the various tiers is controlled and rigid. It is the prerogative of superiors to make any decisions that established rules and procedures do not settle. There is no room for alternative ideas or perspectives and anybody exhibiting alternative opinions would go against the norms of the prevailing conservative culture within the organization. Those with actual power are cautious in their decision making and people would be fearful of expressing alternative ideas in public. Consequently such organizations would create high levels of stress and anxiety for those employed within it. Such organizations would be very rigid and not know how to handle information that differs from what those within the organization are used to. This would just add to stress and anxiety rather than a cue for needed analysis and change. Subsequently any forms of creativity, except for dysfunctional behavior would not occur within these types of organizations.
Creativity is best served by an organization that has unhindered flows of ordered information that can be accessed by all relevant people. Power is best based on knowledge and expertise rather than position or political positioning. Interdisciplinary groups of diverse people are encouraged to take a holistic view of problems and opportunities. Finally the organizational leadership would be open to new ideas from all parts of the organization and see change as a necessity for organizational survival.
However too much freedom at the other end of the continuum may allow too much unfocused creativity, where an organization would also be paralyzed through indecisiveness. In such an environment there would be information overload where it would be too confusing to determine what information is important and what should be disregarded. Alternative opinions are canvassed to the point that no decisions or commitments can be made. Groups within the organization may be so diverse that little common ground, that there may be little sense of common mission. Such an organization seeks change without having commitment and agreement about what change should occur. Although being a creative organization, none of its creativity results in any form of innovation because of lack of focus, discipline and formal decision making processes.
A graphical view of the continuum of hierarchy to anarchy within an organization is depicted in Figure 30. On the left side formalized and authoritative hierarchies allow little room for creativity and innovation. These would include very production orientated organizations and companies that still subscribe to the concepts of scientific management. These may also include organizations dominated by a founder who wishes to make all decisions within the organization. At the other extreme is an organization in chaos where there may be great creative potential but no mechanisms to channel and focus creativity into innovation. Groups run into conflict over differing ideas where frustration develops. Many examples of this form of organization may be early start-ups made up of groups who find it difficult to make decisions. These organizations start moving once they are able to define how to channel and develop decision making procedures. The middle of the continuum is where organizations can be creative through allowing information flow, diverse groups to work on problems and authority based on knowledge and expertise. This is where innovation will be at the maximum because of focus and sense of mission within the organization. There will never be two organizations adopting exactly the same mix of organizational parameters. Each company will find from experience what works best for them.
Rigidity is a product of hierarchical organizations that are traditionally locked into operating through strict rules and procedures. Although rigidity has some advantages in sustaining individuals in times of stress and anxiety, rigidity is the true antithesis of creativity within an organization. Rigidity within an organization can come in many forms. Rigidity is caused from over-learning, where the same generalizations are applied to every problem facing the organization, with an intense attachment to rules, procedures and beliefs within an organization, especially conservative ones.
Organizations that don't interact with the environment to protect themselves and rely on rules and procedures to operate regardless of what happens in the outside, tend to develop strong dogma as a unifying force (Rokeach 1960). Each member is expected to hold the shared set of beliefs that may be considered fanatical to outsiders. Only incoming information that supports the organizational dogma is acceptable where all other information is part of a conspiracy to undermine the organization or leadership. Within such an organization one would regularly hear comments like "this is the (name of the organization) way of doing things ", "around here we must do things like this ", or "outsiders don't understand us and try to undermine what we stand for". Organizations wrapped in dogma may border on the psychotic and there is some chance that members of the leadership are psychotic to some degree. Creativity within these organizations is seen as a threat to stability and is generally suppressed.
Rigid organizations may look at issues and people through stereotyped vision. Generalizations are made about the classes of people without evidence about their attributes or qualities. This leads to distorted views of the world like "all Muslims are terrorists ", "all Americans are anti Muslim ", "all Germans are Nazis ", and "all Australians are anti-Asian", etc. Stereotyping helps to make the unfamiliar look familiar but suppresses our curiosity and ability to question about what we see. In the mild state, stereotyping is narrow mindedness, but in the extreme stereotyping is a symptom of psychotic behavior. Adorno et al. (1950) espoused that those harshly treated by someone in their childhood years may grow to adulthood with extreme hate for certain stereotyped groups of people. This can lead to the type of dogmatism discussed above.
Over-learning can cause functional fixedness, a state where a person can only see one conventional function or use for particular objects. Functional fixedness can often occur within professions where people will tend to rely on the training of their respective disciplines to solve problems. For example, a marketing person would look for a market solution, where a legal person may want to consider a legal solution. This form of rigidity prevents individuals from using objects and concepts in new ways, as he or she is locked into one specific use for the items or concepts in question. Thus individuals will respond to a problem in a fixed way rather than look at new possibilities. This prevents a person from seeing new connections and associations which blocks creativity. Functional fixedness is very common and requires a conscious attempt to break out of this type of thinking through CPS techniques discussed previously.
2.8. Fear and Conformity
If we sufficiently fear something, our capacity to be creative is greatly diminished. There are a number of sources of fear that take away our focus, energy and attention, dampening our curiosity.
One of our most common fears in organizations is that of uncertainty, the unknown and the ambiguous. Ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity discomforts most people who are unable to cope and develop stress and anxiety. Most people actually have a need for customs, procedures, rituals, routines, and traditions, etc., for security and stability. Even though this may cost many opportunities for personal growth the benefits of comfort and security are worth it in most people's view. The roots of conformity go deep from the time of being reared as a child to what is socially right and wrong behavior. Children are also taught the social severity of deviation. This is why conformity is difficult to let go easily where a person needs to question traditions, structures and be exposed to other dynamic cultures.
Fear is also a group phenomenon where the group develops beliefs, norms and values that bind people together. Breaking the group's beliefs, norms and values will lead to sanctions from the rest of the group. Conformity is another form of organizational rigidity which hinders creativity (Parnes and Meadow 1963).
Another form of fear is the fear of failure. In a mild form the fear of failure is a strong motivation to maintain sharpness, focus on doing a better job that creates some competitiveness in a person or group. However in the extreme form it may prevent a person take any risks and play things safe by not taking on any activities that may appear risky to a person's self image, should they fail at the activity. For example, a bad review for an artist may turn him or her off doing anymore works. Therefore people with a fear of failure will stick to undertaking tasks that avoid competition and there is certainty that they will win. People with a fear of failure will look for excuses of why they would fail and go into excessive fright and nervousness when there is some form of test situation. A fear of failure can retard divergent thinking and discourage people from undertaking new activities (Khandwalla 2004, p. 293).
People also fear criticism and humiliation. In the mild forms, some level of criticism can be motivational. Criticism or humiliation can have the effect of bringing groups into more cohesion (i.e., to defend against a common enemy). Other effects of criticism and humiliation create touchiness and resistance to innovative ideas. An organization that has an atmosphere of negative criticism will destroy employees' intrinsic motivation to the point they will fear to present any new ideas (Amabile 1998, p. 83).
2.9. Defensive Routines
Defensive routines are actions or policies that protect us from fear or embarrassment of exposing our thinking to others. Defensive routines form a protective shell around a group or organization that shields any scrutiny or attack upon its general assumptions that may produce pain or anxiety. Defensive routines can prevent people in organizations from seeing things, solving problems and learning. For example, management may focus on making short term profits by cutting down on costs, even if this may threaten longer term profitability. The 'O'-rings on the space shuttle Challenger were numerous times by the engineers who did nothing about them because it may threaten the program schedule, thus preventing any dealing with the matter before the tragedy occurred. When sales fall, managers responsible may jump in and develop a program of discounts and sales promotions, without looking for any reasons why sales are falling, thus failing to learn the fundamental reasons behind the sales downturn. All these events hide the reality and truth of the situation. Things are hidden because there is a fear that errors will be found by others.
Chris Argyris (1990) proposed that most behavior in organizations is shaped by a set of 'governing variables'. This means that people will strive to avoid embarrassment and threats by advocating views without encouraging inquiry, undertake actions that save face or are defensive, design and manage situations in order to maintain control, evaluate the thoughts and actions of others in ways that don't encourage the testing of the validity of the evaluation itself, attribute causes for things without really validating them and encourage defensive actions like blaming, stereotyping, and intellectualizing to suppress anxieties.
These 'governing variables' don't necessary match the values that people espouse, so there ends up being an espoused theory of action and an actual theory of action (Argyris and Schon 1974). The behavior contradicts with what is espoused. The actions taken are based on stress and mistrust as an attempt to escape exposure for something wrong. This type of behavior prevents learning, creativity and the development of innovative solutions to problems facing the organization.
Complacency has an effect on creativity. When a company is immersed within the same environment on an everyday basis, this brings familiarity, where familiarity brings insensitivity to detecting any small or modest change. This is very important to seeing new opportunities. One of the best examples of blindness caused by complacency was the US car industry which didn't take much notice of the Japanese car makers when they came to the US in the 1960s. It was only when the Japanese car makers gained more than 20% market share in the 1980s, the US car makers woke up to the threat and changing opportunities. The US car makers were hesitant to move into the new market segments created by the Japanese car makers, and became unable to innovate. Blindness due to complacency develops a lethargic attitude towards the need to be creative and innovative. Complacency is a primary reason why companies decline and completely disappear from the market place.
Organizations most often operate according to schedules. Work hours are scheduled, breaks are scheduled, projects run according to timetables and product launches are timed. Schedules have advantages in that they create some pressure on an individual's performance, something like when swatting for an upcoming examination at school, where there is a deadline to be met. If there was no deadline, most probably there would be little pressure to study. The effect of competitive and time pressure was partly responsible for the breakthrough in World War II, the arms and space race between the US and USSR during the 1960s. However continuous tight deadlines can turn into mistrust, where employees feel over controlled and eventually burnout.
However creativity requires time and tight deadlines can kill creativity. Many problems are only solved after a period of intense work without making any progress, where insight will come after a person has stopped thinking about the problem. Unfortunately the timing of insight cannot be controlled to conform to schedules. For serious creativity to occur time is needed for exploration and incubation. The pressure to solve problems quickly is a major obstacle in solving problems as they require insight to solve them. Tight schedules also undermine technology or new product breakthroughs that need to occur from continuous experimentation and trial and error.
The correct resources are also needed to develop creativity. Work groups should have the right diversity and backgrounds within them with an interdisciplinary scattering so there can be a diversity of perspectives. Homogeneous teams may tend to reach compromise solutions avoiding intergroup conflict. There must also be the resources necessary, i.e., labs, office space, funding and time, etc. for the group to do their job. This includes the right physical space so work can be undertaken efficiently. However too many resources and facilities can also hinder creativity by developing an isolated comfort zone. Many breakthroughs have come from individual inventors with very limited resources, rather than large corporate R&D labs.
2.12. Organizational Culture and Management Style
The prevailing organizational culture and management style of a company has a major impact upon the creativity of the organization. The general beliefs and values within the organization are greatly influenced by the management style practiced within the organization. Management style may either encourage or hinder creativity. Teresa Amabile (1998) proposed that management style influences employees' sense of challenge, freedom, availability of resources, work group composition, supervisory encouragement and organizational support for creativity.
Teresa Amabile believes that managers don't always match the most suitable people to an assignment to optimize creativity. Often people with the wrong expertise and motivation are given jobs that are not suitable for them. Once people have been allocated a task they should be given the maximum freedom to undertake the job, i.e., authority and responsibility. This allows employees to work on the problem with their own expertise and creative skills and develop intrinsic motivation along the way, where they can gain a sense of ownership. Managers often fail to define clear objectives and give true autonomy to a job, thus hindering creativity.
The amount of resources allocated to a project can support or kill potential creativity. The assembly of problem solving or idea generating groups is very important where a diversity of views and perspectives can be gained. This requires putting people together that have different intellectual bases and creative styles. Amabile (1998, p. 83) considered it very important the group members share excitement, help their teammates during difficult periods and also recognize the unique knowledge and perspectives of the other members. To be able to assemble such groups managers must have a deep understanding of their employees. Selecting a homogenous group will tend not to be as creative as a diverse and motivated group, which can be very powerful if differences don't turn into conflict. The best atmosphere to provide for this group is one of supervisory support that underlines to the group that their work is important to the organization. Managers will quickly kill creativity if they criticize new ideas, give across the attitude of skepticism, or take a long period of time to respond. Finally, creativity is enhanced when a whole organization is supportive of it. Organizations that make creative people the heroes will put a positive emphasis on creative behavior. Very few organizations actually have this positive attitude towards creativity. This is particularly the case where many people see giving criticism to others is a way to look intelligent to the boss. Problems then start becoming considered in the light of political gamesmanship. These organizational dysfunctions take attention away from work and clutter up open communication with gossip and games, destroying the potential for positive collaboration.
2.13. Other Blocks to Organizational Creativity
There are a number of other potential blocks to organizational creativity. Leaps of abstraction are very quick generalizations made about situations. These generalizations impede an objective view of the environment and situations that may occur within it. Groupthink and collective thinking, especially within homogeneous groups often lead to the suppression of ideas and information people for particular reasons don't want to hear. This leads to failure for the group to canvass the important issues and less than optimal decision
making. The benefit of collective thinking in many cases may be a fallacy according to De Bono (2002), where a person working on their own may produce a lot more new ideas than those working in a group.
To build a creative organization actually requires an understanding of what management factors foster creativity and what impedes creativity. Creativity within an organization needs:
* Expertise and interdisciplinary knowledge--technical, procedural, formal, informal, practical experience, and intellectual thinking. There must be interaction with other professionals to develop interdisciplinary approaches to generating ideas and solving problems.
* Motivation--inner passion to find and solve problems, where this motivation should be intrinsic rather than extrinsic.
* Time to enable incubation of ideas or undertake exploration through trial and error, and
* Creative thinking skills to enable flexibility and various methods to look at and solve problems as well as generate new ideas.
To be creative in the organizational sense, the idea or solution must be appropriate, useful and achievable. It must influence the way business is done, improve productivity, or show a new way of doing something.
The author has argued that the process of creativity depends upon a number of elements. The raw material for idea generation and problem solving comes from knowledge. A person cannot move forward in a field unless they have knowledge. Knowledge comes from many sources, has various accuracies, reliabilities and truths. The different levels of knowledge were shown back in Figure 15, which affects the quality of decision making.
Different forms of knowledge have different benefits to the creativity process. Expertise is the sum of all the other forms of knowledge and can be applied directly to problems and the creative process. Technical and intellectual knowledge are two forms of explicit knowledge which can be expressed in words, numbers, data and other forms of information. Practical knowledge and experience is tacit, based on personal knowledge, hunches, insights and intuitions. Tacit knowledge is deeply rooted in an individual's modes of actions, ideals, values and emotion, a person embraces (Edvinsson and Malone 1997). All these forms of knowledge create a person's cognitive dimension, consisting of beliefs, perceptions, ideals, values, emotions, and ingrained mental models, which gives a person a sense of personal mastery and wisdom in a particular domain. However it must be remembered that knowledge can both enhance and hinder creativity.
Intrinsic motivators are essential to creativity. There are both positive and negative intrinsic motivators, which are based upon our basic primal and social emotions under ego influence and control. The lower negative intrinsic emotions are usually overpowering on a person. This is related to our 'leftover' primitive survival instincts. Conversely, our higher positive intrinsic motivators tend to be related to our sense of social altruism and self actualization or spirituality. These various forms of motivators influence our creativity and decision making processes. For example, a person motivated by greed and anger will be driven by blame and retribution, whereas a person motivated by self actualization will be driven by their desire for spirituality. Different motivations will result in a person seeing the world very differently. The hierarchy of creativity motivations is shown in Figure 31.
According to Amabile (1983) people do not really undertake creative work within a field unless they truly love what they are doing and focus on the work rather than the potential rewards. This infers the optimal types of motivation for creativity are positive intrinsic motivators, self mastery, the power within and exploration and improvement.
It is also very important to have thinking styles that allow one to think in different ways. Different forms of creativity depend upon the style of thinking used. The various creative thinking tools discussed within this part utilize one or more forms of these thinking styles. Miller et al. (1996) described four different styles of creative thinking as:
* Modifying where facts and figures are used to develop new actions that improve upon what already exists. This is a problem solving style of creativity where facts and figures are used in various methods of decision making that have worked in the past. This is a means of improving efficiency and making incremental improvements within a stable environment. Persons using this style tend to maintain their original assumptions and be comfortable with using facts and figures and dislike working within an ambiguous environment. This approach would be very useful for product, process and business improvement within the same product/market/industry set.
* Exploring uses insights, finding ways to perceive new connections and metaphors that yield new perspectives. This is achieved through amassing lots of information in the hope that it will lead to new insights. Exploring allows assumptions to be challenged. Through insight we can develop new ideas that tend to be novel approaches to what is already done. This approach would be very useful in finding new products and opportunities to develop. This approach is used in some parts of Synectics.
* Experimentation uses facts and observations to find new ways to develop a concept or solve an existing problem. Experimenting is based on a cyclic trial and error process that will expose problems with a variable that can tend be changed or modified. This approach is the most disciplined of all the styles and often requires great perseverance. Experimentation is very good for developing a new product or process, improving it, or refining a design, etc. This form of creativity style is excellent for refining concepts into ideas and exploitable opportunities. This style is sometimes used in reengineering.
* Visioning or imagining the future looks for foresight that will create a desired future situation to take action upon. Visioning is a very instinctive, intuitive or even fanciful style of creative thinking which can emerge with novel concepts, ideas and potential opportunities. This style is sometimes used in Brainstorming, Synectics and competitive imagination.
However these styles of creativity must be accompanied with intellectual skills, a) to see problems in new ways and escape the bounds of conventional thinking, b) the skill to recognize which ideas are worth pursuing, and c) to know how to persuade others as to the value of the idea (Sternberg 1985).
Another factor important to creativity is our perception of the environment. As we have seen, perception is subjective rather than objective, being heavily influenced by our mental models. Our sensitivity, curiosity and attention are all influenced by a complex group of factors which have been explained within their respective sections. Triggers act upon the interface of the environment and our sense of self, and influence our motivation, energy and curiosity. Finally our unconscious cognitive processes within our sub-conscious re-organize information in ways that may provide insights into new perspectives upon problems or potential opportunity concepts. This is especially evident during the incubation period of the creativity process. A overview of the factors that influence the creativity process is shown in Figure 32.
Stories of entrepreneurial successes show that the road to lucrative exploitation of opportunities has various routes and methods. The ways to success are as diverse as success itself. There are the stories of serendipity where things were discovered by accident. The game of rugby, x-rays, penicillin and Teflon were all discoveries made by accident. However it is not the discovery that makes success, it's the hard work afterwards. Some may explain Bill Gates success as knowing where there is a willing buyer and seller at the right time. Is this vision, hustling, shrewdness or ruthlessness? Ray Kroc saw a model, but it took action upon his part to make it happen. Did he discover opportunity or was he an opportunist? Tony Fernandes, the founder of Air Asia followed a business model clearly established by others in different continents. Is he a visionary or is he a copycat?
Forget about the semantics above, the important point here is that creativity and the corresponding innovation is easy to pass judgment upon in retrospect, but was no doubt a challenge to each of them before their respective successes, requiring both insight and foresight. Creativity is wide and varied and innovation is subjective. There are too many possible variables in the model to prescribe successful strategies. Each success in a way is unique, based on the various factors and situations. It is not always a case of incremental or radical innovation, as a new opportunity may require a number of innovations patched together in order to be exploited successfully.
Every individual has a different set of traits in relation to the factors that influence creativity. These include different levels and types of intelligence, energy, laziness, boredom, troubles at home, within society or work, etc. One will also be influenced by different emotions and aspirations. Thus creativity is not evenly distributed around individuals and to some degree creativity can be considered a scarce resource. In addition creativity is often latent and underdeveloped in people. Creativity is important in start-ups, when product lifecycles are coming to an end, industry structures and supply chains are changing, technologies are converging and being improved both incrementally and drastically, regulation is changing and global influence is strengthening. It is through creativity that firms compete with each other within and across industries. Behind the concept of entrepreneurial management and marketing lays the concept of creativity. Creativity is what assists in the opportunity identification process and strategy crafting, thus creativity is an intangible asset that differentiates companies. Creativity is what blends together resources, skills, capabilities, technologies, products and networks within some form of blend that is unique and may have advantage over others. Creativity is the tool that helps a firm respond to unfamiliar situations by modifying existing routines (Jones and Craven 2001).
Creativity is evolutionary and social. It is influenced and influences our social evolution, and it is a manifest of the human mind. This is supported by our growth of knowledge and the behavior of other people. Creativity is thus the generative part of our lives, the economy, and our social and cultural systems.
Creativity is an important element in converting sources of opportunity, resources, skills and capabilities, and networks, to make up entrepreneurial opportunities and strategies to generate the continued birth and rebirth of novelty, growth, prosperity and the future images of our society.
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University Malaysia Perlis
(1.) Anterior superior temporal gyres.
(2.) One must mention here that being an innovator does not necessary imply more success than an adaptor. Innovators have the challenge of convincing potential customers that their breakthrough has benefits and advantages over what is already available on the market. In contrast the adaptor is raising the level of the market to a new point of competitive advantage favoring the adaptor over other competitors.
(3.) Tacit knowledge is generally acquired on one's own, usually unspoken and implicit, procedural in natural, not readily articulated and directly related to practical goals that people value (Sternberg 2002, p. 11).
(4.) An example of how assembly coding enables the identification of novel objects through flexible recombination can be understood by seeing how a small child may identify a cow for the first time, if they have no previous experience or understanding of what a cow is. The child upon seeing the cow at the zoo identifies the cow (a novel object) as a large version of the dog, he or she has at home. It is only after the parents explain that a cow is a different animal to a dog, that the child can refine his or her identification of the cow as a separate animal to a dog. Reading is another activity that shows how the brain can understand the recombination of letters making up different words, sentences and paragraphs into unique meaning.
(5.) Sub-environments can be made up of a domain or field, an industry, a community, a region, an infrastructural service like education or the court system, a family, or an organization, etc.
(6.) A 'mess' is a complex issue which does not have any well defined structure, making it difficult to define the actual problem. Complex issues usually have many factors involved, of which many cannot be quantified. In problem solving these problems must be considered as a whole because many factors are interrelated in ways we are not sure. In contrast, problems have much more defined structures, of which we have more understanding. There are usually a number of alternative solutions, depending upon resources at hand and the value systems used for decision making. See Ackoff (1974).
(7.) The power to act will depend upon, skills, competencies and capabilities, resources, networks, and competition, etc.
(8.) Hard data can be classified as any quantitative data, data collected from flows, organizational data from reporting channels, products and the organizational structure. Soft data would include hunches, guesses, intuitions, perceptions of the people involved in the problematic situation, judgments about skills, competencies, efficiencies perceived status, attitudes, motivated needs and individuals (Checkland 1981).
(9.) However if early ideas or potential opportunities are already perceived, the process should not be stopped. Going through the other stages may help generate other alternatives which may also warrant consideration.
(10.) See: "Look poor to avoid attacks: Oz top cop to Indian students," NDTV, 7th February 2010, http://www.ndtv.com/news/world/look_poor_to_avoid_attacks_oz_top_cop_to_indian_students.php
(11.) A typology is a simple model based on the possible combinations obtained between two or more variables with each variable containing a (finite) range of discrete values or conditions.
(12.) This emulates the strategy of the Andrew Jergens (now called kao Brands) shampoo Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific in the mid 1970s. The product was boosted with a perfume that left a long residual odour on a person's hair during the day. The advertising campaign used this benefit to highlight the product and it became a very successful product within the teenage category for a number of years during that period.
(13.) The Boston Consulting Group matrix can be considered a simple morphological typology. Igor Ansoff (1965) also used adaptations of simple morphological typologies in his seminal book "Corporate Strategy".
(14.) However very often in complex problem solving the original objectives themselves may change during the process.
(15.) Metaphors require a social imagination so that everyone understands the symbolism of the metaphoric suggestions.
(16.) This can mean object, person or event.
(17.) Johns (1994) included reflective practice cues like: Aesthetics, What was I trying to achieve? Why did I respond as I did? What are the consequences for others?, Personal, How did I feel in this situation? What internal factors were influencing me?, Ethics, How did my actions match with my beliefs? What factors made me act in incongruent ways? And Empirics, What knowledge did or should have informed me? How does this connect with previous experience? Could I handle this better in similar circumstances?
(18.) Client-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s and 50s is a non-directive method of therapy using the technique of active listening. Active listening involves reframing and rephrasing what the client said to confirm understanding. This technique is intended to be unobtrusive to the client.
(19.) Richard Florida (2002) believes that the two major ingredients required for innovation are talent and tolerance. Therefore high-tech industries will develop in some regions faster than other regions because they are open to new ideas by not being judgmental upon other points of view. Consequently Florida said that the gay index is an excellent measure for potential innovation, not because innovative people are gay, but it is a revealing indicator of mental openness and tolerance, necessary in creativity.
(20.) As we have limited cognitive attention available intellectual self centeredness tends to monopolize this resource leaving little, if none available for creative processes.
(21.) Extreme cases of hierarchical rigidity can exist where those a hierarchy are expected to give absolute obedience to their superior without any question and those above have absolute authority over those below them.
(22.) However one must remember in complex game theory many outcomes may end up relying on chance due to the multiplicity of factors involved.
(23.) The research and development laboratory at 3M was trying to develop a more effective glue, but they were unsuccessful. The new material did not harden and always remained sticky. As the story goes one of the secretaries of another department learned about this material and started using it for sticking small memo notes to the surfaces of her workstation. All the other secretaries followed and the concept of the product Post-it emerged. So a use was found for a material that was first thought to be useless and a failure.
(24.) The technology to develop the jet engine and some advanced aerodynamic designing came from Scientists in Nazi Germany who defected to Britain, the United States and Soviet Union after the war. The same goes for the rocket engine, where after being developed in Nazi Germany, technology and personnel continued their work in both the Soviet Union and the United States leading to the space race and development of the intercontinental ballistic missile.
(25.) In contrast, an outsider unless having some specialized skill important in the field, may struggle to develop the intricate understanding that an insider has.
(26.) A person's construct depends upon their experience of events and people and their emotions about their experiences. A person's construct will also depend upon their own motivations and situation.
(27.) This term could just as easily be reconstruct, recombine, regenerate, or transform.
(28.) The position of opportunity refers to the characteristics of an opportunity based on demographics, technologies, regulation, economic conditions, etc. Opportunity slowly changes where demand patterns very slowly or rapidly change depending upon the industry.
(29.) At the turn of the 20th Century, the business community was primarily concerned with manufacturing and assembly. There were no guide books or management manuals to assist managers at the time and management thought had been guided by historical antidote. Frederick Taylor was an engineer who carried out time and motion experiments on the workforce at the two steel mills he worked at. Taylor came up with a set of principals in what became known as scientific management. Taylor believed that the principal objective of management was to secure the maximum output per worker, taking all thinking away from the shop-floor. He laid down a set of guidelines for managers to determine the single best way of doing things, eliminating all useless movements. Workers would be set targets and quotas with incentives and penalties. Management would walk around the shop-floor timing workers performance and measuring it against standards. Management would be able to find the best person to perform each action, thus leading to optimum efficiency.
The concept of scientific management sweep through corporate America. It was seen as a solution to poor worker motivation, which was considered a major problem at the time. Scientific management had its critics then and now, been seen as dehumanizing. It was also criticized for focusing on quantity and ignoring quality. However, scientific management was the first set of management principles that could be put into effect by managers at the time. In fact, there are still thousands upon thousands of factories around the world today that utilize this philosophy, without managers even knowing it is scientific management. Ninety years later elements of Taylor's principals have re-emerged in Hammer and Champy's concept of reengineering.
(30.) Reengineering as practiced relied on outside consultants who diagnosed the problems and specified remedies with little involvement of internal employees. This approach tended to ignore the 'cultural ' and 'historical ' aspects of a company, which are very important to meaning for those within the organization. Meaning implies motivation for a person to be in the organization and support its goals and objectives. When this aspect is ignored, employee motivation is likely to drop dramatically. This has occurred in many organizations utilizing reengineering.
(31.) Here we mean 'new to the world products' as the first of their kind in the market. They are usually something invented or enhanced by a significant change or advance in technology, such as a new discovery or different method utilizing modified processes, materials or methods in producing a product. These products would revolutionize the market segment or even create a new market, which may require significant consumer learning to become familiar with the new product. Examples of this would include the progression from land line based telephones to mobile phones and now hand phones, the progression from typewriters to electric typewriters to word processors and personal computers, the change from wood, to gas to electric and microwave cooking and the advent of the Sony walkman and Ipods. New to the world products make up only a small proportion of new products and they are perceived as the riskiest types of new products to launch as manufacturers have to deal with consumers inexperience with the new concepts and incompatibilities with their prior consuming experiences, which act as barriers to consumer adoption.
(32.) About 10% of new products launched are new to the world products, which increases to around 18% in moderate to high tech industries. New product lines (which are new products for a firm) are about 26% of new products, but much higher at 37.6% in moderate to high tech industries. Additions to existing product lines are around 26%, but dropping to 18% in high tech industries. Product changes and improvements are around 26% of new products, 19.8% in moderate to high tech industries and product re-positioning are 7%, but almost non existent in moderate to high tech industries. Thus, the majority of new products are developments and variations based on existing products.
(33.) In the case of new to the world products, the technical and market specifications would have to be developed without direct referral to other products, completely through expanding upon a new idea.
(34.) Examining patents can provide a deep understanding of how a product is manufactured. Skilled professionals can 'work around' intellectual property, i.e., find new chemical synthesis routes, assembly processes or utilize alternative materials to those mentioned in existing patents.
(35.) It is necessary to select which product attributes (or principals) are important in the product mapping stage.
(36.) The children of the Millennial generation are now going to school. They are much more impatient than previous generation and don't have the same discipline, although they are experts with new technologies. They have been brought up with more gadgets and money than previous generations and their play has been almost entirely with today's technology. Millennials have a strong desire to succeed and do things their own way (Carlson 2005), but how creative this generation is still up to debate.
(37.) See Hunter, M. (2012), Opportunity, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Vol. 1, pp. 290-291.
(38.) For example a pilot in night flight may have great difficulty in judging the distances of objects from the aircraft and personal orientation to the horizon. In this situation the pilot's senses are confused and therefore must rely upon flight instruments rather than senses for information.
(39.) For example, domineering leaders may tend to select people who will follow passively and are of the same social background, while high-tech start-up companies in Silicon Valley may select people based on knowledge and ability, regardless of social background.
Table 1 Some characteristics of adaptors and innovators Adaptors * Like to be precise, reliable, efficient, disciplined. * Concerned with solving residual problems within the current industry paradigm. * Seeks solutions within the frame of existing technologies, products and business models. * Tends to be focused on means. * Able to concentrate for long periods of time. * Is an authority within a given domain. Innovators * Tends to be undisciplined, approaching tasks from unusual angles. * Tends to search for problems and alternative avenues of solution. * Challenges existing assumptions. * Can go through strict routines for only short periods of time. * Tends to dominate in unstructured situations. Table 2 Types of Information that can be collected Information Knowledge, facts, intelligence, recollections--what is known and can be perceived, calculated, verified, discovered or inferred. Information can usually be verified from other sources. Tacit The unwritten rules of the game, information informal ways things are done. Structural The structure of domains fields, industries, markets, organizations and consumers. 'The flow How things flow within a domain, field, of things' industry, market and organization. 'What' What is the 'mess' doing? What are the unmet objectives that are not satisfied? What resources, skills, competencies and capabilities are used? 'Where' Where are the important locations, positions, focal points, concentrations, centralizations and decentralizations. Is it concentrated or fragmented? 'When' When are the important times, intervals, deadlines, schedules, cycles, beginnings and endings? 'Why' The reasons, meanings, goals, objectives, aims, intentions of the areas of focus? 'How' How do things happen? Stakeholders Who are the stakeholders of the domain, field, industry, market and organization. Impressions Images, visualizations, and other artefacts retained from experience. Hunches, intuitive guesses, speculations, etc. Beliefs Assumptions, beliefs and values that people and organizations operate from. Observations Perceptions, comments. Feelings Desires, aspirations, emotions, sentiments, empathy, etc. Questions Curiosity when have lack of information. Table 3 A concept generation checklist for consumer products 1. Review existing products in the market a) What benefits they offer to consumers? (Is this a major issue?) b) appearance, efficacy, odour, colour, etc. c) branding, image and theme This study will assist in determining what benefits of the new product should be highlighted in the marketing campaign. 2. Is the product concept compatible with the branding? Must ensure the finished product formulation reinforces the brand image the company wishes to show consumers--i.e., colour, odour, softness, efficacy, appearance, use of particular materials. 3. What distribution channels do competitors utilize? Can I break in? What are the barriers to entry? Are there alternative channels? 4. Is the proposed formulation compatible with the proposed packaging? a) Is the nature of the product consistent with the proposed packaging? b) What product bulk densities will be required? c) Can the product be filled efficiently during the production process? d) Will the proposed packaging affect product stability? 5. What logistic considerations may require special packaging? a) required storage times b) Heat, especially harsh temperature variations c) Exposure to light d) Transport e) Product/supply chain integrity (Halal, Kosher, organic) f) Product/supply chain audit trails 6. Can the product meet organizational expectations? a) If not, what compromises are required? b) What is realistic? c) Can the product objectives be achieved within company unit cost expectations?--i.e., products active levels, functional ingredients can become ascetic ingredients, fragrance Is the most expensive material? Can vary dosage or quality? 7. Where can I source raw materials? a) What type of product formulation system is best? b) What alternative materials can be used? If not available look for another system. c) Can I get good technical support? 8. Does the product have to be pre-registered before launch? If so, how long does this process take and what information is required? a) What standards need to be met? b) Is any efficacy testing required? Table 4 Things that can go wrong during problem implementation_ Matters of Planning_ * Wrong assumptions made in critical areas * Under-estimate of resources required * Strategy not properly matched with competencies and skills required * Deadlines to tight with little leeway * Market too far away to effectively service it well (i.e., Interstate or overseas market) * Generally poor planning under estimating the degree of difficulty Internal Causes * Unable to gain distribution * Not enough resources * Production problems * Product quality problems * Human resource problems * Mismatch with organizational procedures, flow, culture, etc External Events_ * Customers dislike the product * Competitor comes in with a similar product * Not enough customers * Legal problem * Forced product recall * Acts of God Table 5 The steps involved in implementing competitive imagination within a transnational corporate context Step Description/Process Costs/Benefits 1. Identification of Look at all Benefits: Developing periphery potential fringe good corporate stakeholders and stakeholders, their reputations, better understand their concerns, influence legitimacy and a concerns. of firms operations mandate from upon these groups, stakeholders, more develop operating freedom, communications with fast tracking rather these groups for the than delays on purpose of implementing addressing their projects. Costs: concerns before Management training, these groups connect managerial time, to media, NGOs or travel and other political parties, activities unrelated etc. See what to present general actions the firm can operational take to better functioning. interconnect with these groups in terms of products, wastage, improvements in the way the company deals with them. 2. Identify any Consider issues of Benefits: Creating business contexts social equity, radical new ideas that are the reverse biodiversity, for products, of the way the ecosystem services and company currently preservation, human business models. operates the rights, human Costs: Training, business. Seek to dignity, indigenous time, travel, and generate imagination rights, climate attention away from and create ideas change, etc to existing operations. about potential new identify stakeholder product and business concerns that are innovations related contrary to what the to the identified firm is doing now. fringe stakeholder This could focus on groups. regions and communities that have been heavily affected by globalization, industrialization, exploding populations, migration, urban/rural drift, lack of education, basic infrastructure, etc. Look for previously unvoiced groups to invite concerns and reactions. Create a list of potential areas where learning can take place so that new products and business models can be generated. 3. Develop Develop cultural Benefits: Generating interaction with sensitivity through competitive fringe stakeholders management training. imagination for to generate new Put management into future products and product ideas and the targeted regions business models that business innovations to learn about the will achieve future and bring potential region, market and growth for the firm. tacit operating people the firm has Costs: Training, knowledge to the identified to serve. time, travel, and firm. Explore stakeholder attention away from needs and new existing operations. approaches for meeting their needs in an innovative manner. 4. Incubate, Develop new Benefits: Generating operationalize and organizational disruptive implement the informational flows. innovations in radical innovations Setting up of task products, services and business models groups to develop and/or business developed. new products and models and business models. addressing ethical, Test and refine social and ideas through environmental issues continual and concerns of communication with stakeholders and stakeholders. preventing the creation of adversarial resistance to the firm. Costs: Expenditure of organizational resources. Table 6 The factors that make up the opportunity gap and stimulate associations Social Economic Social and cultural Stage of economic trends as drivers development Reviving historical State of the economy trends Level of disposable Influence of income international trends Macroeconomic, general Changing industry conditions, demographics financial and geographic Styles fashions & fads environment Market Themes Market Channels Competition Randomness & Unexpectedness Technology Government Current state of the art Government needs and and emerging priorities technology Restrictions by Re-evaluating and Government utilizing existing New laws and technology in new regulations & impact areas on product markets and New knowledge supply chains Invention Trade liberalization Table 7 List of Some Different Types of Conceptual Blocks (37) Conceptual Stereotyping Blocks Halo Effect Self-fulfilling Prophecy Preconceptions (prevents and inventor see new directions) Wrong polarity in perception (i.e., Field dependence/independence) Overwhelming data--Confusion Tunnel Vision Lack of Focus Inability to perceive a problem from different viewpoints Failure to utilize all senses correctly. Emotional Obsessive desire for security and order Blocks Fear of making a mistake Lack of motivation Inability to reflect on ideas Trying to solves problems too quickly A tendency to make prejudgments Lack of imagination or imaginative control Cultural Time restraints on problem solving Blocks Daydreaming and reflection Preference of logic Taboos and tradition Lack of social support Environment Distractions Blocks Monotony Physical and mental discomfort Lack of communication Intellectual Incorrect choice of problem solving method and Inflexible or inadequate use of Expressive problem solving skills or strategies Blocks Lack of correct information Incorrect or inadequate means of expression Unable to define problem
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|Title Annotation:||p. 103-147|
|Publication:||Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2014|
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