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Creativity and Innovation in a Business Environment

Introduction

Creativity refers to the ability to come up with a unique solution that can solve a problem. Creative ideas arise in different ways and under different circumstances. Sometimes, they occur after an individual work hard to find a solution to a problem by investing all the effort and resources that one possesses. In other instances, it happens as a stray and opportunistic thought that comes up in an individual’s mind and the person realizes that it is unique.

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Many people develop creative ideas daily. The need to come up with better solutions to challenges that people encounter invokes creativity. Many of these ideas end up appearing and disappearing in people’s minds because they are either unrealistic or the owners do not give them a second thought. Most people are pessimistic whenever they come up with ideas that are different from the norm. Pessimism is one factor that kills innovative ideas that might be of significant help to society.

When creative ideas are implemented, their uniqueness brings out innovation. They offer a new and better way of doing things. Innovations have attracted commercial value because they help to resolve critical problems. Therefore, whenever changes arise, innovators look for ways to commercialize them. Thus, innovations are currently considered as business opportunities due to their demand in the market. The discovery of innovation as a business idea has led to social investing in research and development. Today, people identify problems and allocate resources to resolve them deliberately. Most solutions that are created and sold in the market can be deemed unsolicited. This paper will discuss creativity and innovation in a business environment.

The Dadaab Film

The film that the group will base its discussions on is a short documentary by a research student about conditions in a refugee camp in Kenya. Dadaab is founded in the northern part of Kenya and hosts thousands of refugees from the east and central Africa. The camp is made up of makeshift shelters and mud-walled houses that are home to refugees who have lived there for over two decades.

The northern part of Kenya is a desert with temperatures rising to 42 degrees Celsius in a better part of the year. Most shelters used to accommodate the refugees are mainly made of plastic tents and iron sheets. Therefore, they become too hot during the day. The tents tend to wear out within a short period. The shelters that last long like the mud-walled houses get too hot during the day. Refugees are entitled to every human right and fundamental rights like proper housing should reign supreme.

Therefore, there is a need for creative solutions to address the shelter problem in the camp. Such a solution should be cheap and temporary because the Kenyan government cannot allow refugees to construct permanent structures on the land. Whereas the short film has many areas that need creativity and innovation to resolve the current challenges, the housing issue is given priority because it is a humanitarian problem.

The Approach

The group used different techniques to sift through the issues before settling on shelter as a critical challenge. A refugee camp can be described as a melting pot for problems that are difficult to conceive. Thus, an attempt to resolve all the issues that affect the camp can be a difficult hurdle to surmount. The group decided to search for the most fundamental problem that required creativity and ingenuity to solve and could be turned into a business idea (Bharadwaj & Menon 2000, p. 426). Working in a group offers individuals an opportunity to think wild as different members share ideas.

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The group comprises an explorer whose role is to identify a problem and communicate it to other members. Different people have unique ways of identifying problems. At times, all people may not see similar problems (Shaw 2006, p. 147). In this group, one member identified shelter as the most critical issue in the refugee camp. Even though all members had identified shelter as a challenge, not all of them could regard inadequate housing as a severe problem.

Some members identified diseases, clothing, and food as the fundamental problems. The need to define a problem that required creativity was arrived at by sifting through the listed problems, brainstorming on them, and identifying one that met out criterion and interests. The team comprised artists who offered insights into how the problem could be handled (Hogan & Coote 2014, p. 1613). The team had to come up with housing materials that were not only cheap but also efficient to address the challenge.

The materials were also meant to be heat resistant as a way to regulate the temperatures inside the shelters. Our team had several members who knew such materials. Thus, they offered significant assistance in the formulation of ideas to resolve the problem. The group leader assisted the team to analyze all the identified solutions. The answers were sorted based on their feasibility.

The team leader’s input was informative as it helped members to arrive at the most viable option. In a group set up, members of the group provide a lot of information depending on how much they know (Hogan & Coote 2014, p. 1613). It is imperative to note that different members of the team played different roles in the process. Some members were involved in all the processes while others had no idea of what the team required doing to meet its objectives. The most important issue was coming up with resolutions. After identifying the problem to handle, the warrior of the group was bestowed the responsibility of finding a way to execute the idea (Hogan & Coote 2014, p. 1614).

The warrior was supposed to explore the market to identify the best, cheap, and temporary housing materials that meet international standards. The team would later sell its idea to the humanitarian organizations that manage the camp. The organizations were likely to buy into the idea. Thus, they served as a suitable client for the group. Refugees depend on aid because they do not engage in commercial activities. A few refugees who are enterprising enough run small businesses that enable them to earn a living.

Techniques Used

Gap Analysis

One of the methods that the team applied to arrive at its innovative idea was the gap analysis. The group used this approach to identify the differences in the market. By then, no other business provided better shelter materials than the ones that the team identified. The materials that were in use included nylon tents and iron sheets. The idea to come up with light and cheap prefabricated materials that could be used to construct shelter was an outstanding thought.

Hitherto, no Kenyan company has presented any proposal similar to the one that the group did. The team was confident that the organizations that assist the refugees would quickly adopt the idea because it was creative and viable (Giannopoulou, Gryszkiewicz & Barlatier 2014, p. 24). The group decided to work on the idea. The team was to commercialize the idea once the humanitarian organizations embrace it.

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Analogy

The analogy is another technique that the team applied in the project. The team members assembled and had a constructive conversation on how to transform the living standards of the people in the camp. Throughout the discussion, members explored different scenarios and possible solutions. An analogy provides a forum for an extensive discussion that leads to the identification of numerous ideas which a team can adopt (Anderson, Potocnik & Zhou 2014, p. 1299). At the end of the discussion, the group agrees to proceed with the most viable idea. The best idea is chosen based on cost, ingenuity, and potential benefits. An idea can be good but yield poor returns. Therefore, any creative idea that a team adopts should have good results.

Challenges and Constraints Encountered

The group faced numerous constraints as it worked struggled to come up with an innovative idea. Members of the group were divided into vertical and lateral thinkers. The vertical thinkers were quite conservative with ideas, and they had a penchant for viewing everything from a scientific perspective (Glover, Ronning & Reynolds 2013, p. 54). Conversely, the lateral thinkers were extremely wild when it came to idea generation.

Some thoughts that the members gave were quite impractical. Nevertheless, the team decided to give them a chance. Identification of the appropriate problem took time because the group members could not agree on the items that demanded their attention. The challenge was resolved after the members decided to vote on three elements that they considered as most critical. Additionally, the group encountered problems because it had limited information about the refugee camp.

The team members had to conduct extensive research to assist them to get adequate data on the field and relate it to the film. Background research is necessary for such instances because it enables individuals to evaluate a problem using the radial diagram technique (Crumpton 2012, p. 101). The group realized that it was not difficult to come up with a creative and innovative idea. However, transforming the idea into a profitable venture and marketing it to relevant people was a challenging endeavor.

Execution of the idea entailed going on the ground to oversee its implementation. Besides, the team required establishing a physical manufacturing plant on the site. Indeed, the group encountered many challenges to come up with a creative and innovative idea. The group had to consider all factors that had a direct and indirect effect on the idea.

Values of Different Approaches

Different approaches to creativity and innovation enabled the group to merge different ideas that required ingenuity to achieve the purpose (Trimi & Berbegal-Mirabent 2012, p. 450). The different techniques provided the team with a broad margin for coming up with a business idea that could generate money. The analogy method offered the group insights into some ideas in which members thought that they were insignificant to the project. It enabled members to use different perspectives and case studies to evaluate all issues.

Conclusion

Creativity and innovation are vital facets of contemporary society because they offer solutions to many challenges. Creativity allows individuals to dedicate their time to researching and developing new ideas that can be commercialized. The modern market is full of science and technology experts who come up with creative ideas daily. One would like to see a society where people give a chance to all ideas even if some are not commercially viable.

Some thoughts that are applied in the developed nations are difficult to utilize in the developing countries. Therefore, the developing states can quickly dispose of ideas that seem to be beyond the comprehension of the developed countries. The entire exercise taught our group that it is imperative to have a universal way of sharing ideas. Some ideas may not be useful to one society or nation but significant to others. It can enable the world to accommodate innovative ideas at different levels. The exercise brought to light the fact that some ideas that seem obsolete in continents like Europe and America can be invaluable in Africa.

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The cost of innovation should be made friendly so that many people in the society can benefit. Most creative changes are expensive when they land in the market. Globalization has made it easy for countries to exchange ideas. Thus, countries should look for ways to minimize the cost of innovation by encouraging many people to be creative. The module enabled the student to figure out how to hatch creative and innovative ideas. As I proceed, I would like to carry forward the concept of interpretation of the thought process. Interpreting a person’s process of reflection helps to identify creative and innovative ideas. Failure to understand our thought process inhibits creativity.

Reference List

Anderson, N, Potočnik, K & Zhou, J 2014, ‘Innovation and creativity in organizations a state-of-the-science review, prospective commentary, and guiding framework’, Journal of Management, vol. 40, no. 5, pp.1297-1333.

Bharadwaj, S & Menon, A 2000 ‘Making innovation happen in organizations: individual creativity mechanisms, organizational creativity mechanisms or both?’ Journal of product innovation management, vol. 17, no. 6, pp.424-434.

Crumpton, M 2012, ‘Innovation and entrepreneurship’, The Bottom Line, vol. 25, no. 3, pp.98-101.

Giannopoulou, E, Gryszkiewicz, L & Barlatier, P 2014, ‘Creativity for service innovation: a practice-based perspective’, Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 24, no. 1, pp.23-44.

Glover, J, Ronning, R & Reynolds, C 2013, Handbook of creativity, Springer Science & Business Media, Singapore.

Hogan, S & Coote, L 2014 ‘Organizational culture, innovation, and performance: a test of Schein’s model’, Journal of Business Research, vol. 67, no. 8, pp.1609-1621.

Shaw, 2006, Creativity and innovation, managing service operations: design and implementation, Sage, London.

Trimi, S & Berbegal-Mirabent, J 2012, ‘Business model innovation in entrepreneurship’, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, vol. 8, no. 4, pp.449-465.

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