Change can be difficult at the best of times – and these are not the best of times. But when it comes to innovation, which is all about change, it may just be that there’s never been a better time to launch a campaign to embrace it.
It’s becoming clear, after a year of learning to adapt to the pandemic, that innovations of necessity are proving to be worth keeping – online conferencing is but one example. But more importantly, organizations are discovering that stakeholders are prepared for change as never before.
Lee-Ann McAlear, program co-director of Schulich Exec Ed’s Masters Certificate in Innovation Leadership, says “now is an opportune time to embrace innovation. People have adopted new ways of doing things and don’t want to go back business as before.”
The first task of leaders looking to make their enterprise more innovative is to create a culture that rewards creativity in finding opportunities to do things differently: from developing new products and services to changing the way they are delivered to customers.
In “Five Ways to Sustain the Creativity that Emerged from the Disruption of the Pandemic” authors Laura Barbero Switalski & Marysia Czarski identified key factors influencing creativity:
- Covid-19 created optimal conditions in the workplace for creativity to thrive and innovation to ensue.
- Intrinsic motivation – organizations that best fuelled creativity were the ones who tapped into a sense of greater purpose, rallying their people to be “all in this together” for the greater good.
- Well-being and creativity are closely interrelated.
- The pressure of the pandemic created a highly productive work environment. However, productivity does not equal creativity.
- People, process and environment work together as a system for creativity. This system needs to become part of a strategy that is applied every day at work.
Switalski and Czarski will be sharing their insights as guest facilitators in the Spring 2021 session of the Masters Certificate in Innovation Leadership, starting April 26. Megan Mitchell program co-director said, “We are thrilled to have Laura and Marysia share their timely pandemic research on creativity with us. This research supports many of the trends we are hearing about in the workplace today. Leaders need to be aware of setting the right conditions for better thinking to take place, especially now.”
Another factor fuelling the drive for innovation is the impact of technology. Although people often mistake technological change alone for innovation, the adoption of digitalization is driving the need to innovate to survive both as an employee and an organization. The World Economic Forum report “The Future of Jobs 2020”, says “Businesses are set to accelerate the digitalization of work processes, learning, expansion of remote work, as well as the automation of tasks within an organization.” The report identifies the need to support and retrain displaced workers and monitor the emergence of new opportunities in the labour market.
Learning how to adopt a culture that changes and innovates with emerging business requirements prepares both employees and organizations to navigate these trends. In the end, technology may be a driver of innovation; however, it is only one enabler. We need to find many new ways to drive value, and it is not the domain of technology alone.
The Masters Certificate in Leadership Innovation (starting April 26, 2021) features three five-day certificate programs delivered in the virtual classroom through September. For more information and to register, visit the program web page.