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MANAGEMENT: Incubator - Proper ways to encourage innovation and creativity and enhance entrepreneurs' performance
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Proper ways to encourage innovation and creativity and enhance entrepreneurs' performance

By Marwan Emile Faddoul (Managing Partner Qadisha Consulting) & Filipe Martins

BT 201703 Management 01The relation between innovation and creativity is quite debatable, though one point that may link them up is that creativity is not necessarily innovative but innovation is essentially creative. This is because someone can create something that already exists somewhere else and yet no-one was aware of it. But when someone or a group of people innovate, creativity is definitely involved in that process. How can that difference be realized prior or during the development of a project to allow for a quicker way to reach a proper outcome?

My friend Henry and I have been debating on the factors that influence and how these factors can be changed so that a better direction can be attained from early stages of conception and on to the final stages of implementation.

Well, we agree that one of the primary factors is to have a good team and when I say a good team I'm not talking about a group of people working hours away in an enclosed space. I'm talking about a group of people, which first and foremost have learned how to trust each other, know each other, like to spend time with each other and share laughs and problems. In this way they will make themselves and their fellow colleagues more effective and will also be more at ease to admit failure and feel happy when sharing success. It's this team that is going to be the main driver of all the other factors. By knowing each other well enough, what may have started as a rigid hierarchy, will eventually mutate into an organic entity that understands its limitations and what each element is better at doing.

BT 201703 Management 02
Like Henry said: We have a car with its different pieces and components. If the tires don't have any connection to steering wheel, even though the wheel turns, the tires won't respond. Same thing happens with people - if one person is signaling to the other to turn, but the receiving person doesn't, or is unable to get it, the result is zero or in the case of a car it might very well crash. Still brakes should be there and if the driver (which can be seen as the manager) gives the command to break, if there is no connection between the pedal and the physical brakes, a disaster might happen.

So the team has to be linked together to communicate in the purest sense of the word, only then they will be able to be at ease to build on each other's ideas without any sense of stepping on the others toes. Eventually this will certainly improve the team's performance.

Another important factor to take into account is keeping the ideas organized. Even if the team is able to generate several good ideas in one session, if these ideas are not properly organized from the start, problems and confusion will happen. "Priorities are of the essence" - said Henry - "because they are a primary way to organize a task" (usually in a timeline). If we take the example of building a pyramid and we start from the top, then we have to raise that top to get all the other layers under it one by one. What a waste of time! Categorization is also a good way to keep things in their place. Finding the right categories is usually the hard part, but as soon as these categories can be filtered to the most essential aspects that are crucial to project, everything becomes much clearer.

We can use a different and maybe more clarifying word for this. That word is composition. Let's say I take 5 squares of different colors and shape and organize them on a surface. At first they may not look so beautiful but as I change their order, you'll see that beauty starts to emerge (having some sense of aesthetics will also help). This beauty is a result of good organization. When organizing ideas, if the way they are composed is thought of as a way of turning them into something more meaningful, easier to navigate in order to achieve a predefined result, the whole onward process will be much smoother.

As Henry and I were talking, we realized time was passing and we were quite happy to have already developed some interesting points, almost exactly at the same time when we both pressed that button that reads time. Time investment is a necessary prerequisite of any good and well developed project. This is not just the time spent around the definition of the problem and its resolution, but also the time when one is not thinking about it, like a glass of water in which you just dissolved an aspirin. The water becomes foggy (that's when you should drink it), but if you wait 5 minutes, the bits of aspirin will settle down and the water will be clear again.

BT 201703 Management 03
Not only is time important in this sense but it is also important in the sense of a deadline. Having a deadline is a good foundation since time constraints help people to be more focused and to channel their efforts better. Breakthrough ideas come from an accumulation of pressure over time and the successful ones usually get unveiled at a time of need, when it just can't wait anymore and it has to be ready. Actually time is what makes everything hard, since it's the only limited and non-renewable resource we have. Time management is one of the hardest core capacities that any company has to deal with in many ways.

There was this very famous company (I will not mention the name) that developed an app that would make everybody's life easier in a very simple and effective manner. The app was conceived, developed and presented to the market within a very short period of time in order to step in before anyone else, not realizing that the problem the app was solving was actually a problem. This company had invested so much into the development of their product that they could not wait for the market to wake up and realize how it needed it. The company ended up filing for bankruptcy and their achievement was forgotten in the sands of time. Then some time later another company who had also been developing a similar technology entered the market at a time when many people were already asking for a solution. Of course, these guys made it and became quite successful as a result of entering the market at the right time.

Sometimes having a good performance without considering multitude of aspects that time can affect may lead to disastrous results, like jumping into a pool that hasn't yet been filled with water.

We talked a bit more but we already spent quite some time there and our thinking and communicative performance was already giving away because another essential factor to a good performance is to rest well, specially sleep well. Many recent studies have been showing that sleep is a mechanism to organize information in our brains. Not doing so will lead to more disorganized thought processes that make any decision harder.


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