Creativity: Is Fear Holding Back Innovation?

An influential driver of innovation, Digital Strategist & Futurist Scott Bales poses some challenging questions to shine a light onto those problem areas that often block creative flow and progress.

We all have ideas… ways to improve a current situation, ways to help others, ways to innovate, ways to revolutionise. But does our fear of negative outcomes hold us back from unleashing our true potential?

The most common disincentives for creativity and innovation arise in an atmosphere of fear; fear of being penalised for failure, fear of not getting adequate administrative support, or fear of not having enough time.

In examining common practices that get in the way of creativity and innovation, Hickman and Silvan have developed a list of six common blinders that keep leaders from creativeness and innovation.

They are:

  • Resistance to change
  • Reliance on rules and conformance
  • Fear and self-doubt
  • Over reliance on logic and precision
  • Black and white thinking and
  • Over reliance on practicality and efficiency

The study showed that, creative people are more likely to be non-conformist, not only in their thinking but sometimes in their attitudes and behaviour. If such people are valued in an organisation for what their ideas can do for the group, then a certain amount of tolerance for unconventional behavior is the price that has to be paid.

How can we inject a little of this into people to encourage them to speak up, share their ideas or run with an innovation?

Creativity is a powerful catch phrase. In Western societies it epitomises success, the modern trends for novelty and excitement. Whether linked to individuals, enterprises, cities or regions creativity establishes immediate empathy, and conveys an image of dynamism.
Creativity is a positive word in a society constantly aspiring to innovation and “progress”. European Affair, 2009.

Culture is the general expression of humanity, the expression of its creativity. Culture is linked to meaning, knowledge, talents, industries, civilisation and values. The objective of the study is to have a better understanding of the influence of culture on creativity, a motor of economic and social innovation. Does music, visual art, cinema and poetry for instance contribute to creativity as a way to stimulate job creation, economic prosperity, learning and social cohesion? What is the impact of artistic creation on innovation? Why do companies want to be associated with culture and art? What is the social function of artistic and cultural creativity?

The big question for business: how does one build culture that encourages the open expression of creativity?

This question puzzles me every day, as I search for a means to drive change in my work; across Asian markets and in consultation with global brands. I extend an open invitation to anyone that wants to help in this transformation.

For further information on Scott Bales or to enquire about making a booking for your next conference or event please contact the friendly ODE team


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Creativity: Is Fear Holding Back Innovation?

Scott Bales is a global futurist, innovation & digital strategist, serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker at TEDx and a best-selling author.

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