Thursday, 31 May 2012

Why Creativity & Innovation is Key to Progressive Development

Creativity  is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. Innovation is the production or implementation of an idea. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.  (Linda Naiman)

Over the past decade, Malta has seen a substantial change and development in the human resource sector. Upon joining the EU, back in May 2000, Malta had to introduce new laws that are in keeping with the other Member States: Malta had to be able to grow, moreover, within the human resource dimension.

Several companies in Malta, including banks; schools; recruiting agencies; factories, amongst others, offer their staff in-house training. The human resource departments of these companies usually carry this out, in their attempt to let their employees’ refine themselves, and or to gain further mastery of their work. In his Handbook of Human Resource Management (1999), Armstrong contends that HR people are, in fact, ‘strategically positioned’ as to observe and to analyse the short- and long-term running of their organisation. They need to be well aware of what is happening in their organisation.

HR people however need to be creative and innovative in how they approach their staff. Just to give a few examples, some companies (locally based) hold ‘plant competitions’, where every employee needs to bring in a plant, water it, and take care of it. They also organise costume-based network parties (in the case of recruitment agencies); take their employees for a badger karting evening, or paintball, or abseiling (these are all activities that have really been organised by the HR departments).

Having worked in companies that do create such activities, and others that don’t, I could see the difference in atmosphere of such workplaces. Those companies that organise activities for their employees, at often times manage to foster a sense of ‘inclusion’ or ‘camaraderie’ among the employees; those companies that do not engage in such activities, however, leave their employees rather detached from one another and from the company itself. This is not to say that the latter company will break down, yet, if activities were held among the employers and the employees, there would be a more positive atmosphere, which could in turn lead to workers that are more productive. This shows that innovation within the workplace can indeed lead to new dimensions of performance.

In his study of creativity and innovation with relation to the HR department on a local bank, Luke Borg  explains that for innovation to flourish, companies must create an environment that fosters creativity. This could involve the bringing together of multi-talented (and perhaps multi-national) groups of people who work in close collaboration together, by exchanging knowledge, ideas, and hence shaping the direction of the future. To do this, of course, there needs to be ‘intrinsic motivation’ and the employees’ love towards their work. Combined together, creativity, innovation, and love for your work can give your company a high competitive advantage over your competitors. 

Nikita Pisani @ Muovo


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