The term creativity often confuses companies and people in general. This is mainly because they confuse creativity with innovation. The two terms are often used synonymously. In truth, however, creativity and innovation are on different sides of the spectrum. Let us therefore first clarify the logic and connections behind the terms:
Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology, through business creativity and the innovation lifecycle, to trigger radical change within an organization. Although technology is a crucial component of digital transformation, it is not the only component. There are also other factors that come to play.
Digital transformation requires business innovators, pioneers, and business or industry leaders to transform and position their businesses for radical shifts. Businesses can expect growth in all the areas they desire by simply adopting an effective and efficient business transformation strategy and leveraging innovative technological solutions.
A business analysis from McKinsey revealed that by the year 2021, most businesses would spend billions of dollars investing in digital technologies. Moreover, passionate, optimistic, and enthusiastic firms that pay more attention to future trends are in the best position to benefit from the emergence of new business innovations and digital strategies.
Through digital transformation, businesses can offer exceptional services to their customers and workforce, which will result in increased sales/revenue, customer retention, and improved brand loyalty.
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Differences between Creativity and Innovation
Whereas Innovation comes from the Latin verb “innovāre” and means “the introduction of new things, ideas or ways of doing something” creativity is a thought process that, in the best case, leads to an extraordinary and unique idea. Whether or not this idea actually works is completely irrelevant. That is why creativity is very difficult to measure from a business perspective.
Innovation, on the other hand, is the process by which this into a new product or service, i.e., into something that is actually into something actually tangible. Hands-on. Try it out. And if it works, earning money with it. earn money with it. That’s something you can measure.
How Creativity and Innovation drive Digital Transformation
An excellent and effective digital transformation begins with a clearly defined model that prioritizes SMART goals and initiatives and identifies critical factors for business success. If done correctly, digital transformation strategies can provide mouthwatering benefits that make the entire transition process worthwhile.
Regardless of the nature of business or industry, companies pay attention to the following key areas:
1. Overall Customer Experience
The success of every thriving business is strongly dependent on the quality of their customer’s experience. There is no doubt about this fact, whenever customers are not satisfied with any product or service, they leave unapologetically. By leveraging modern digital technologies, businesses can improve customer experience, leading to more customer loyalty and increased sales.
2. Employee Performance
Although improving the quality of customer experience is a vital component of an excellent digital transformation, businesses should not forget to look inward. This is one area many companies miss. They get so engrossed trying to improve customer experience that they fail to address critical areas of their business, such as work collaboration, employee performance, skill advancement, and employee satisfaction.
To get the unwavering loyalty of your employees, you need to do away with the “boss mentality” and work collectively with them to achieve desired results. Providing employees with the right digital tools to connect, collaborate, and communicate will strategically increase productivity for more success.
3. Gaining Competitive Advantage
Your competitive advantage is your uniqueness. It is what stands your business out. Companies that rely on building legacy systems and leveraging on outdated technologies risk losing their competitive advantage in the twenty-first century.
Customers are more exposed now. Hence, their needs and expectations about every product and service you offer are high. To meet these increased demands, businesses must transit and evolve. Digital transformation positions you to operate more excellently and efficiently, grow your customer base, improve their overall experience, increase sales and find new business initiatives.
4. Data Analytics
Another critical driver of digital transformation is a strong desire to understand your business better and see it grow exponentially. Data drive the twenty-first-century business. Moreover, data provides valuable insights businesses need to make future-minded decisions concerning their objectives, products, and services.
Most businesses operate based on paper processes only, which won’t last. However, companies that can analyze the data they collect from customers build a more innovative business and make well-informed decisions that position them for strategic growth.
How to Foster Creativity and Innovation in the Organization
Innovation and creativity capability has never been as important as it is today. In a global comparison, Europa is lagging behind compared e.g. to innovation in China.
Companies are noticing this, too. Regardless of whether they are established corporations or small or medium-sized enterprises. They all need to find ways and methods to generate ideas and innovations within the company. But how?
Read more in our article “The Lack of Innovative Technology in Europe – a Risk to Our Wealth?”
The best idea generators are often the company’s own employees – but the course must be set to get the inventive spirit out of them. In order to release and utilize this potential, spaces for creativity and innovation should be created.
Another decisive factor is the right corporate culture: Only if innovation is also promoted and demanded holistically in the company can changes come about at all.
So, the ideas in employees’ heads are definitely there. But whether an employee expresses them depends on the corporate culture. Employees must have the feeling that it is worthwhile to initiate something and that they are appreciated for their commitment.
This blog article therefore gives you impulses on how, on the one hand, innovation is promoted in the company and, on the other hand, employees can discover their creativity.
1. Trust and willingness to take risks
The key to a successful culture of ideas and innovation is trust. If there is no trust among employees, if they have no trust in their supervisor and employer, then they will not express any ideas, but instead do their work by the book.
However, if there is a strong bond, if the company is keen to involve its own employees and to promote personalities who want to initiate and move things, the employees themselves will develop intrinsic motivation and make courageous decisions.
It is the same the other way around. The manager and the company must trust their employees to the extent that the freedom and self-determination granted – in order to be able to develop creatively – is not exploited.
2. Leadership rules - teamwork and collaboration
Innovation is also a question of inner attitude. This should also be reflected in the leadership style of superiors: Thus, a leadership culture also plays an important role in the corporate culture.
While the classic manager is an administrator, planner, controller and perfect organizer of functioning processes and procedures, leaders, on the other hand, are visionaries. This means that they inspire those they lead with visions and motivate them to develop their own initiative.
Leadership creates creativity, innovation, sense fulfillment and change. And thus the necessary freedom for employees to develop, express and implement their ideas and innovative projects.
3. Create space for free thinking
In order for people to work creatively and develop extraordinary ideas, it helps to create an environment that encourages creativity. Workplaces that are only practical and functional do not necessarily invite creative thinking and exchange.
Therefore, create creative zones!
This can be in terms of time, space or location: You can give your employees creative breaks in addition to their daily work to work on innovative projects. Workshops – ideally outside the usual premises – also create new perspectives and stimulate thinking.
Room design also promotes creativity, and many startups are setting an example. To give their employees the necessary freedom of thought, creative spaces – equipped with foosball tables, sofa landscapes, bar tables – invite them to be inspired and think outside the box.
4. Without variety, there cannot be diversity
The more diverse the teams in a company, the more diverse and innovative the output. The reason: the more perspectives, opinions and backgrounds come together, the more friction and thus, at best, innovative ideas are generated. The challenge here lies in the corporate culture and orchestration of teams. Leaders must learn to manage these teams in an agile manner and without losing sight of the future. Technology can help manage teams in a collaborative, agile and digital way while providing the necessary transparency.
5. Flat hierarchies promote intrapreneurship
But in times of digital transformation and new work, companies must also ask themselves how they want to work in the future. The answer can be very individual, for example, it must be weighed up which – whether startup or traditional company – new working models fit and if so, how and to what extent. More freedom also means increasing responsibility at the same time. This also means for employees to become aware of their role in the company and to drive forward innovative projects on their own responsibility.
6. Developing lots of ideas
Creativity is the prerequisite for innovation. The more ideas that are generated, the more worthwhile ones are likely to be among them. Various creative methods such as design thinking, mind mapping or the Osborn checklist are the most common and probably best-known formats for developing targeted ideas and turning them into innovative projects.
Therefore: Make sure that your employees always find open ears with their ideas. And offer them creative freedom for thought-provoking ideas from time to time. Or you can specifically promote your creative employees with internal idea competitions, which are endowed with innovation prizes and orchestrated via an idea management platform. All ideas can be bundled on this platform and made transparent to the entire workforce.
Conclusion on Creativity and Innovation
Contrary to popular opinion, digital transformation is not just about technology. It’s more about your business strategy, data, process, creativity, innovation, and people. Digital transformation does not occur overnight; it takes consistency in building strategic roadmaps. You can start slowly by transforming the critical areas of your business to achieve your desired outcome. No doubt, in this digital era, the only way for your business to thrive is to embrace digital transformation for enhanced business creativity and innovation.
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