Fire Starter

Kick up creativity with the right kindling

No matter what it is, it always comes back to process, doesn’t it?

Even innovation—breakthrough, shatter-the-mold change—requires the right process to succeed. And the first part of that innovation process is creativity.

Yet, many organizations do not have the right infrastructure to foster creativity well. Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman points to an interesting connection between creativity and innovation, offering a caution for anyone involved in the process:

"You can have quite a lot of creativity in a business organization without having much innovation at the other end. This occurs when people aren’t very motivated, or proper systems aren’t in place. Such workplaces have difficulty hearing the creative ideas, developing them, letting them grow, and figuring out how to implement them successfully." (Goleman’s blog post can be found at: http://ow.ly/PEjlQ.)

This month’s cover story focuses on coaxing out creativity within non-conducive corporate structures. In "Under Construction," author Peter Merrill gives some examples of organizations that have the formula down, and provides tips for how you can encourage creative ideas similarly within an already-established culture and structure. Small changes could result in big ideas getting the respect and attention they deserve.

"Creative by Design" shows more specifically how you can infuse creativity in design of experiments to find unique solutions to complex problems. Structure doesn’t hinder creativity, the author contends; rather, flexibility is needed within the structure to obtain the ideal results.

We round out this month’s features with "Coming Together," which relays the results of a study showing that quality and social responsibility efforts are inextricably tied together, and "All the Right Moves," which explains how an Ontario-based hospital used innovative techniques to improve patient care and flow.

Creativity requires that we think a bit differently, and we did just that when brainstorming our World Quality Month issue (coming up in November). This fall, we are putting together a QP article that features the many instances of quality being covered (usually humorously) in pop culture. Think of the TV show "30 Rock" and its "Retreat to Move Forward" episode, which poked fun of Six Sigma.

We’re looking for other instances of mainstream pop culture using quality examples or references. If you have ideas in mind, please submit them via the form at on the home page.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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