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Alternative Approaches for Promoting Creativity and Innovation

Question:

What is the Mobilising Creativity and Innovation ?

The current report aims to demonstrate the various alternative approaches and perspectives through which firm creativity and innovation could be promoted across various levels. These levels include individuals, group and organisation. Therefore, Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) has been selected as the organisation in order to promote innovation within the organisation. This is because with the rising growth of Ooredoo Oman in the telecommunications industry of the nation, Omantel has no longer been able to maintain its monopoly in the market. As a result, it has necessitated the need for Omantel to design creative and innovative services for maintaining its competitive edge in the market (Omantel.om 2017).

In the words of Albonaiemi and Ghahremani (2016), innovation is the technique of obtaining valuable ideas and converting the same into beneficial products, services and operational methods. However, these ideas are generated through creativity and it comes before innovation. Thus, with the help of creativity, an organisation could gather new ideas for quality enhancement and innovation places these ideas into action. However, certain factors affect the creative thinking of an individual. These factors comprise of lack of direction, fear of failure, fear of criticism, striving for constancy along with rationalisation and justification (Bateson, Bateson and Martin 2013).

It has been observed that the rapid growth of Ooredoo Oman in the Oman telecommunications industry has necessitated the need for Omantel to come up with creative and innovative services. However, the major individual blocks to creativity and innovation that have been identified in the context of Oman are briefly discussed as follows:

It is the situation, in which a problem solver does not possess a fair knowledge or perception related to problem and the information required to develop effective solutions to the problem (Cropley 2015). Due to the lack of direction, the individuals working in Omantel make incorrect assumptions, as they foresee the problems from various viewpoints. Hence, the core elements of the problem could not be identified. As a result, the staffs of Omantel are not in a position to think creatively for solving the problem at hand.

As commented by Helfat and Martin (2015), the emotional block to creativity takes into account risk-taking, inability to maintain ambiguity and fear of conducting mistakes. The staffs of Omantel encounter this block, as they judge ideas, instead of generating them. In addition, the staffs of the organisation do not find adequate time to relax due to stressful working conditions. As a result, they do not pay adequate attention to the immediate problems, as they intend for quick success. Such quality has restricted the capability of the staffs to think in a creative way and it would also lead to lack of control over the imagination of an individual (Khalili and Khalili 2016).

This type of block happens at the time the problem solver does not possess adequate knowledge of the subject required to solve the same. There is absence of adequate training in Omantel due to which the staffs of the organisation do not have a fair idea of the strategies and techniques required for problem solving. In addition, another constituent of this block is the complexity of the problem solver in expressing ideas to the customers (Litchfield, Ford and Gentry 2014). Due to the language issues of the staffs of Omantel, the organisation is finding it difficult to expand its business in the global market. As a result, it has hindered the process of creativity and innovation within the organisation.

Factors that Hinder Creativity and Innovation

In order to overcome the above-stated blocks, the following theory or approach of creativity related to innovation could be used to improve the operational methods of Omantel:

This model consists of five phases for creative thinking, which include preparation, incubation, intimation, illumination and verification. In the first phase, the focus is on the problem, as it explores the dimensions of the problem (Perry-Smith and Mannucci 2017). In case of Omantel, the main problem is associated with the expansion of the business in the global market. The major dimensions of the problem could be identified as stressful working hours, incorrect assumptions and language barriers. In the second phase, the problem has been internalised into unconscious mind; however, nothing occurs in the external world. Therefore, the managers of Omantelk could present different problematic situations to the team members. Adequate time would be provided to the staffs to come up with creative ideas that provide solutions to the provided problems. As a result, it would help in promoting creativity within the organisation.

The third phase is intimation, in which the staffs have the feelings that a solution is on its way (Ramalingam et al. 2015). In case of Omantel, considering the above instance, as soon as the situation is provided to the staffs, they begin thinking of possible ways that could be used to resolve the specific problem. Finally, they would arrive at a specific solution and the manager of Omantel could accumulate all ideas designed to solve the particular problem. However, in order to increase the level of creativity and innovation, Omantel needs to motivate its staffs in each department through monthly appraisals. As a result, it would help in generating more creative and innovative ideas (Tutt and Duncan 2013).


The fourth phase is illumination, in which the creative idea is presented from preconscious processing into conscious awareness (Schaarschmidt and Kilian 2014). In case of Omantel, with the initiation of performance appraisals, the staffs begin to put forward their creative and innovative ideas that would help in expanding the business operations. The final phase is verification, in which the ideas put forward are verified and evaluated effectively and accordingly, application is made (Somech and Drach-Zahavy 2013). In case of Omantel, the ideas accumulated from the staffs of Omantel need to be evaluated and the most creative idea needs to be rewarded for increasing the motivation level of the staffs. As a result, it would help in encouraging the process of creativity and innovation within Omantel.

Conclusion:

From the above discussion, it has been found that creativity and innovation are the major aspects of an organisation in order to maintain its competitiveness along with expanding its business operations. However, creativity backs innovation, as a bundle of creative ideas result in an innovative product or service that intends to deliver maximum value to the customers. There are certain factors that hinder the process of creativity and innovation of an organisation. In order to evaluate the importance of creativity and innovation, the leading telecommunication company of Oman, which is Omantel, has been chosen to find the major blocks affecting the organisational progress.  The major blocks related to the process of creativity and innovation includes lack of direction, fear of failure, fear of criticism, striving for constancy along with rationalisation and justification.

The major blocks identified in case of Omantel include perpetual block, emotional block, intellectual and expressive block. The first block appears due to judgement of ideas rather than generating the same. The second block occurs due to fear of doing mistakes and inability to maintain ambiguity. The final block happens because of the lack of knowledge in solving a specific issue and communication barrier. Hence, for overcoming these three blocks, the management of Omantel could apply Wallas’ model of creativity and innovation. This is because with the help of this model, the organisation would be able to involve the staffs in coming up with new and creative ideas through improved motivational techniques.

The following recommendations would be beneficial for Omantel in order to promote and sustain creativity and innovation within the organisation:

  • Omantel could think of providing monthly bonuses to the staffs for coming with creative ideas to expand the business operations further. In addition, the management needs to take the suggestions on serious note to increase the willingness of the staffs in designing new and creative ideas. For instance, Omantel could ask each employee to offer one suggestion each week and after thorough assessment of all the ideas gathered, the best oe would be selected along with implementation.
  • Omantel could provide a suggestion box to maintain confidentiality of the employees for inspiring the creative spirit to instil as portion of the organisational culture. In addition, brainstorming sessions could be conducted as well to reach at a particular solution for any problem.
  • Omantel could set up innovation teams to design new ideas regarding diversifying its business operations. However, the management needs to set deadlines to present the ideas of the innovation teams and the best idea could be rewarded, which would indicate that the firm values work-related creativity.
  • As most of the staffs in Omantel have language issues, it could recruit staffs from cross-border countries for diversifying its business operations in the global market. Hence, there would a diversity amongst the staffs, as this would lead to emergence of mixed culture and shared ideas to benefit the organisation.

References:

Albonaiemi, E. and Ghahremani, L., 2016. Examining the relation between knowledge management and employees' creativity (Case study: employees of telecommunications companies inGolestan Province). International Journal of Humanities and Cultural Studies (IJHCS)? ISSN 2356-5926, 1(1), pp.1984-1993.

Bateson, P., Bateson, P.P.G. and Martin, P., 2013. Play, playfulness, creativity and innovation. Cambridge University Press.

Cropley, D.H., 2015. Promoting creativity and innovation in engineering education. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 9(2), p.161.

Helfat, C.E. and Martin, J.A., 2015. Dynamic Managerial Capabilities: A Perspective on the Relationship Between Managers, Creativity, and Innovation in. The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, p.421.

Khalili, A. and Khalili, A., 2016. Linking transformational leadership, creativity, innovation, and innovation-supportive climate. Management Decision, 54(9), pp.2277-2293.

Litchfield, R.C., Ford, C.M. and Gentry, R.J., 2014. Linking individual creativity to organizational innovation. The Journal of Creative Behavior.

Omantel.om. (2017). Personal. [online] Available at: https://www.omantel.om/wps/portal/ [Accessed 15 Mar. 2017].

Perry-Smith, J.E. and Mannucci, P.V., 2017. From creativity to innovation: The social network drivers of the four phases of the idea journey. Academy of Management Review, 42(1), pp.53-79.

Ramalingam, T., Karim, J.A., Piaralal, S. and Singh, B., 2015. Creativity and innovation (organizational factor) influence on firm performance: An empirical study on Malaysian telecommunication mobile network operators. American Journal of Economics, 5(2), pp.194-199.

Schaarschmidt, M. and Kilian, T., 2014. Impediments to customer integration into the innovation process: A case study in the telecommunications industry. European Management Journal, 32(2), pp.350-361.

Somech, A. and Drach-Zahavy, A., 2013. Translating team creativity to innovation implementation: The role of team composition and climate for innovation. Journal of Management, 39(3), pp.684-708.

Tutt, K. and Duncan, C., 2013. Creativity and innovation. Independence, 38(1), p.10.

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