There was a survey done to identify what kind of groups are more creative, i.e., the ones that sit together and face each other or the ones that sit in cubicles separated by walls. Add surprisingly, the ones that sit in the cubicle structure turned out to be more creative. After a lot of research, two factors came out to be the key drivers i.e.
- Production Blocking – In this case, when one person shares his/her idea, the other person stops thinking and starts listening, and that becomes a more significant challenge in the case of a group that sits together facing each other.
- Evaluation Apprehension – In this case, when the one person shared his/her idea, the other person becomes skeptical and doubtful about his approach/opinion/opinion, and decides not to speak under the fear of getting judged.
In a nutshell, the ideas that get generated under Silence tend to be more novel and have a higher probability of execution, and that’s why a significant % of corporate structure is cubicle driven.
Now the question comes, how to foster a creative environment in the organization where both divergent and convergent thinking could be promoted and have a decent repository of both novel and useful ideas.
In the mid-1900s, a novel thinking method was developed in Israel, which derived from Genrich Altshuller’s TRIZ engineering discipline, and its called SIT (Systematic Inventive Thinking). Today, it is considered one of the famous and pragmatic approaches to Creativity, Innovation, and problem-solving. The SIT framework enables the creative team to transform the current situation into a virtual situation. Once the virtual situation is determined, the team needs to apply the Market Filter (Benefits/Market), Technology Filter (Challenges), and Realty Filter (Adaptations). After using these three filters, what the team gets is the idea.
There are five key constructs of the SIT framework i.e.
- SUBTRACTION – Under subtraction, we remove (subtract) an essential component from an existing product and find usages for the newly created product. For example The Walkman, Instant Soup/Noodles, Decaffeinated Coffee, iPod Nano, and iTouch
- TASK UNIFICATION – Under Task Unification, we assign a new task to an existing resource. It is a great way to overcome functional fixedness. Cultures that are poor in resources are likely to adopt the task unification mindset. The examples are the Oral-B Toothbrush with Tongue Cleaner at the back, and ReCaptcha.
- MULTIPLICATION – Under Multiplication, we create one or more copies of the product component. Post that, we change the copy in some way to create new possibilities and add it to the original product. The examples are the side wheels to the child bi-cycle, multi-flavor perfumes in a single pack, and combining multiple size towers to a single building.
- DIVISION – Under Division, we divide the product or one or more of its components and then re-arrange them to form a new product. The Division can help us overcome structural fixedness. The examples are Nespresso Coffee Shots, AC Split Units in our homes, and bitesize chocolates from Hershey’s.
- ATTRIBUTE DEPENDENCY – The basic principle behind attribute dependency is to creating and dissolving dependencies between variables of a product. In attribute dependency, we work with variables rather than components. A variable is something that varies and has the potential to change values. The examples are the color-changing toothbrush with usage, color-changing beer cans with temperature, and rain-sensing car wipers.
In the end, I would say there is a relationship between Creativity and Innovation. If Creativity is about the production of novel and useful ideas, then Innovation is about the execution of those ideas in an organization.