The power of imagination
Employees are most creative when they can work on challenging problems with relative freedom. Perhaps the job of a leader is to ensure that a company can realize this innovation, says Professor of Marketing Rudy Moenaert.
Imagination is high on the manager's agenda.2 "Rightly so, the pay-off is excellent. Louboutin shoes are expensive, with towering heels. The soles are red - Pantone color 18. How did Louboutin arrive at this brand defining color? A lady in the office varnished her nails. He took the bottle of nail polish and experimented.
Maybe your job as a leader is not so much to be a creative genius yourself, but to ensure that your company can realize this innovation. Such social innovation facilitates the imagination. Jim Collins rightly notes that Thomas Edison's greatest legacy was not the invention of the light bulb, but the creation of the modern R&D laboratory. Henry Ford's magnum opus was not the fabulously successful Model T, but the development of the assembly line.
Scientific research confirms the right of common sense. Your employees are most creative when they can work on challenging problems with relative freedom.4
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2. Lombardo B.J. and D.J. Roddy: Cultivating organizational creativity in an age of complexity. IBM Institute for Business Value, 2011.
4. Oldham G. R. & A. Cummings: "Employee creativity: Personal and contextual factors at work." Academy of Management Journal, Volume 39: 607–634 (1996); Shalley C.E., J. Zhou & G.R. Oldham: "The effects of personal and contextual characteristics on creativity: where should we go from here?" Journal of Management, Volume 30 (6): p. 933––958 (2004).