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“Surf’s Up!” for Organizational Creativity — It’s Sink or Swim!


What do creativity and innovation have to do with making businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools maximally successful?  Lots!  And because they play such key roles, in this Riding the Wave (RTW) blog, I'll be touching on a range of topics related to creativity, innovation, organizational culture, morale, and best practices in management.  One of the many gifts of cultivating our innate Wave Rider

creativity is that it allows us to see connections and patterns that may not be readily apparent — but are there.   It is my hope that readers may see a few additional dots connected and then find that some intriguing new angles and ideas emerge…


Part of the timing for the roll-out of this blog has to do with a landmark IBM Global CEO Study released in 2010 entitled “Capitalizing on Creativity.”  It was drawn from interviews with over 1,500 organizational leaders from around the world.  These managers concluded that the ability to think creatively is the most necessary competency for leaders to possess in a global environment that is changing at break-neck speed and becoming exponentially complex.  3,600 "Next Gen" business students concurred.  –What is also interesting is that over 51% of the leaders interviewed admitted that they did not feel that their organizations were equipped to succeed.  

A brief summary of key findings is posted at the bottom of this blog: "In a Nutshell…"  To get a copy of the complete report, go to:  

The "stand-out" leaders who had profitably applied creative thinking and innovative practices over the previous five years stated that one of the additional benefits of fostering creativity across their organizations was that the streamlining of operations and greater efficiency also resulted.  (No surprise to some of us creative types!)  

The second most important leadership trait, according to these managers: integrity.  The stand-out leaders pointed to a connection between creativity and integrity.  Now what do those two practices have to do with one another?  Hmm… Sounds like a good topic for an upcoming blog-post!

In the first installment to follow, I will encapsulate the findings of the IBM survey as presented in its executive summary.  RTW’s “Kowabunga!” blog will regularly refer back to this important study, because it is ardently hoped that in this case, “When CEOs talk, people listen!  

Most organizations have long disregarded the value that truly creative thinking offers.  I find this to be tragic on oh, so many levels because we have all missed out on the invaluable contributions that could have been made.  "Creative types" that don't fit the mold or into “the boxes" have often found their ideas marginalized — that is, if they were hired at all.  The state of many of our current affairs in business and society reflects the corners that convergent “group-think” has painted us into.

All of us were born with imaginations and the ability to think creatively, when we also believed that many things were possible.  But our educational systems and various forms of peer pressure "trained" that out of most of us.  From then on, there was only "one right answer," and most individuals and groups “settle,” and perhaps grumble, but they stopped allowing themselves or others to be open to other possibilities long ago.  But creative imagination does still exist in all of us.  It just takes the will and some intentional practices to bring it back to life. 

With the convergence of IBM’s important new study and the Obama administration's push for the reemergence of American innovation, now is the time to cultivate unfettered creativity and innovative solutions and to allow them to lead us back to what is possible in our workplaces, communities, society, and our world!

Ship in Wave


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