Innovation is a core component of corporate strategy. There is a positive correlation between new products and market share.
Creativity is the ability to produce original and valuable work, concepts or ideas. Innovation is the process of turning creative ideas into new products or services. The process includes selection, development and commercialization of those ideas.
Pre-employment tests can include tests for creative potential. Companies can select people based on one’s creativity quotient.
There are many ways to test creativity, including:
Hiring creative people is a small part of the equation to innovate. Teresa Amabile, the Research Director and Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School has studied creativity for over 30 years. She determined anyone with normal intelligence is capable of creative work.
Creative outcomes are more dependent on the person’s knowledge and technical skills, talent, and ability to think in new ways. People motivated by the work they are doing often work creatively.
Companies that match people to their passion have an intrinsically motivated workforce. In addition to matching people to interests is requiring the right amount of effort. Skills need to be stretched, but not to the point of frustration. Achievement needs to be within reach. Providing an opportunity to work hard on something that is important and interesting is an effective means to stimulate creativity.
Communicating a shared vision and how each person’s role contributes to the vision may be the most powerful influence on creativity. This communication impacts all business processes. Communicating with people based on their expertise rather than position supports this environment and can speed up decision making.
The ability to build collaborative teams and having a process in place to develop ideas are essential environmental factors to support and encourage creativity and innovation. The blending of different backgrounds leads to divergent thinking. Learning to unveil and apply creative thought requires and builds trust.
Amabile’s studies indicated people were least creative when working under time pressures. People need time to absorb the problem and allow for ideas to bubble up. Distractions, more than a deadline push creative thinking out of reach.
Access to sufficient resources, including information is essential to promote creativity. Less than enough diverts attention away from the task and discourages creativity. However, more than enough doesn’t produce an increase in creative concepts.
Freedom over the process of work is the foundation of creativity. Research has shown autonomy, the sense of individual control over how to approach a task can have a powerful lasting influence.
Creating an autonomous environment with adequate resources and abundant communication supports your human resources’ ability to be creative; it is the latest competitive edge. These human resource processes are the same ones that focused on empowerment, engagement, and retention of top talent.
No Fault —No Fault
The Indiana Unemployment Compensation Act (UC) gives benefits to employees who find themselves out of work through no fault of their own. Just cause is defined as an employee’s knowing violation of a reasonable and uniformly enforced rule of an employer; and unsatisfactory attendance, if the individual cannot show good cause for absences or tardiness.
Clarion Health Partners has a no fault attendance policy. Geoff Giovanoni, a pharmacy technician at Riley Hospital suffered from migraines and seizures caused by an arachnoid cyst in his brain. Despite his effort to report to work in pain and discomfort, he was terminated due to the no-fault policy.
Initially, his UC was denied because he broke the attendance policy which was determined to be reasonable. Later, the decision was overturned, based on the evidence that he broke the rule through no fault of his own. Giovanoni v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, Indiana (June 1, 2010).
Temporal proximity and vicarious liability
Dawson v. Entek International (January 2011) reminds us of two important factors. Dawson, a gay male worker complained to his trainer about his coworkers’ derogatory comments about his sexual orientation. The issue was inadequately addressed. Dawson called off work due to stress, but failed to follow the call-off procedure correctly.
Upon Dawson’s return to work, he filed a formal complaint with HR. Two days later he was terminated for failure to call off properly. Temporal proximity (time can be everything) and the trainer’s ability to “demand obedience” was enough establish vicarious liability to justify Dawson’s ability to proceed with a retaliation claim.