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Tempering free expression and experimentation with business structure is one of the key challenges for leaders looking to innovate
When does creativity stop and innovation start? More importantly, when does innovation stop being a differentiator and start being a game changing deliverer of profitability? These questions were highlighted by a recent report from Ashridge Business School and Creative Skillset. The report looked at leadership, learning and culture across the UK’s creative industries.
Although recognised as a world leader in creativity, the organisations which make up the UK creative sector face numerous challenges. From the outset, the report highlighted the fact that 97% of businesses in this sector employ fewer than fifty people and yet power is perceived to be in the hands of a few large organisations. In addition, in a field which by its very nature prizes innovation and creativity, the general perception is that people are only as good as their last project and this limits the appetite for taking risk. Similarly, whilst creative collaboration is seen as one way of spreading the risk, it does lead to concerns about creative control and copyright issues.
The report makes fascinating reading, particularly in the way that creativity, collaboration and agility are tempered by risk aversion and control. This leads to a variety of leadership styles which range from clear hierarchy and control through to creating an environment in which people feel safe to experiment. The challenges faced by this sector are in fact similar to those faced by other organisations which are looking to move towards a culture of innovation. Tempering free expression and experimentation with business structure is one of the key challenges for leaders looking to innovate and it is one which is discussed in detail in our forthcoming book “Building a Culture of Innovation – A Practical Framework for Placing Innovation at the Core of Your Business”*
*Written by Derek Bishop, Jo Geraghty and Cris Beswick. Published 3 December, available for pre-order from 3 September