corporate creativity & innovation
Fine in theory, but different in reality! © 2006 David M. Weeks.
1. Find a good idea  

The story started in 1994. David was restless at work (a 30,000 person company) and was looking around for something new. He had dabbled in facilitation and problem solving and liked the interaction he got from the creative thinking training he gave. He saw a job advertised locally, which whilst not being very specific, mentioned creative problem solving training. As it turned out the job didn't materialise but it planted a seed problem into David's Psyche - 'is it possible to teach creative thinking for business use. If so, how?'

Throughout that year David started the research project that was to run for many years. In 1995 he enrolled on the Open University "Creativity, Innovation and Change" course and developed the training idea further through one of his assignments.

In 1997 the threads of a business creativity programme were starting to come together. But David was still not sure how to present the material. Standard textual presentation didn't appeal as a delivery vehicle. Then luck threw its first opportunity - David got connected to the Internet and he realised that the Programme could be presented interactively in a similar way to the games concept he had envisaged earlier. He also needed an audience to test his ideas on and he decided to turn inwards towards his company, which was just beginning to develop its own intranet web site.

At this point in the story the flow of e-mails starts - David targeted his ideas at the Staff Suggestion Scheme (Archimedes) and made contact with the manager …

creativity & innovation diary From: Weeks, David
Sent: 11 August 1997 12:18 PM
To: Perigan, Sunita, Suggestion scheme manager
Subject: Improving Business Creativity


I sent your some leaflets on helping staff become more creative. Did you find them useful? They are the marketing blurb for a series of training modules which will increase Nabby Rational's creativity quotient and hence the volumes of suggestions.

Although originally conceived as training material this stuff does translate well to our intranet. I believe that we could improve visibility of your Archimedes staff suggestion scheme by placing them side by side.


Sunita liked the idea and suggested that David should aim high with his ideas. His local management was embroiled in the local day to day problem solving and experience had taught him that talking to them about global ideas met with talk but no action.

David took the bull by the horn, threw internal caution to the wind and wrote to the new Chief Executive. Another stroke of luck tilted the odds in David getting a favourable consideration - in his first staff message, the Chief Executive stressed the desirability of Creativity. Would he be true to his word?

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