Dan Pallotta asks this question on Harvard’s blog today (http://bit.ly/1fUVlo4). And he’s right to ask it.
DPA describes innovation as “the marriage of creativity and pragmatism.” While a recent IBM study showed that creativity is the No.1 CEO desired trait in corporate talent, the reality is that most boardrooms are stocked with pragmatists who are incentivised to defend the status quo, and so find it hard to embrace creativity.
Or do they?
Our experience is that executives actually love creativity. But only if the context is right.
Ask a team to find a great new way to cut costs around an initiative that supports today’s business model (often in response to a crisis), and you’ll see a degree of creativity emerging and solutions that get an enthusiastic thumbs up in the boardroom.
Ask a team to find a great new way to reinvent the way we make most of our money (because the competition will anyway, eventually), and the boardroom radio station soon gets re-tuned.
Creativity will always be valued according the context in which it’s applied. When it’s set inside a robust innovation strategy – http://bit.ly/16ZFhQP – and backed by an executive team that is genuinely intentional about creating new value, it stands most chance of success.