corporate creativity & innovation
Fine in theory, but different in reality! © 2006 David M. Weeks.
2. Ignore the hierarchy Go to the topavoid hierarchy to innovate
David's idea of an on-line creativity programme (the Mental Athletics Programme) looked too strategic for local management to decide on, so he skipped the hierarchy and emailed the CEO instead.

creativity & innovation diary From: Weeks, David
Sent: 03 December 1997 09:26 AM
To: Davison, Ian
Subject: Improving Business Creativity...

I suspect that you don't often receive mail from members of staff, but Sunita Perigan, our staff suggestion scheme manager suggested I contact you.

Firstly, I am pleased to see that you refer to the Creativity of your staff several times in your recent inaugural letter.

Creativity is sometimes seen as the territory for marketing, but in fact it is required everywhere. Who is charged with developing the creativity quotient within Nabby Rational?

For the last two years, I have worked as an residential school tutor on the Open University's Creativity, Innovation and Change course, after earlier passing it with distinction.

My course project was how to improve individual creativity and I have been developing, in my own time, a six-stage programme to do this.

The latest incarnation of this programme is in the form of an interactive Internet Web site - I've named it the "Mental Athletics Programme" as it uses the metaphor of an athlete. Quite apt at this moment in time. I see it as sitting next to the Archimedes suggestion scheme site and I have shown the partially finished site to Sunita who was suitably impressed. There is a huge potential here. But I can only do so much at home, where I am developing the site.

I am writing to you for official support for this idea.


David's objective was to flag the idea at the top of the organisation. Should he have simply asked his direct manager? Not really - he would just be concerned with local issues - something like organisational creativity is more strategic.
Moral: If you have a BIG idea- skip the hierarchy and go to the top of the organisation - if they say "No" then at least you know where you stand.

But be very careful reaching over your direct boss. They don't like it. If you suggest that you are writing to the CEO they'll try to put you off - that's their job, to manage you!

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