Towards A Creative Culture

I have been researching and writing recently about the rise of the Creative Mindset and the emerging Creative Culture in business and other organisations. A sense of significant historical change is being felt in many fields, from education, management, philosophy, psychology and coaching. Here we will touch on this change and begin to identify some key characteristics of this new Creative Culture.

The rise of a Creative Culture in business can be traced to the movement from Industrial Age education and thinking models to Information Age models. Industrial, linear education and thinking led to mechanistic, atomistic, rigid and control centred business and organisational methods. Sir Ken Robison is a notable professor and researcher in creativity and education who has also advised fortune 500 companies and other organisations. He summarised Industrial age thinking as:

“Before the middle of the nineteenth century, relatively few people had a formal education. Being educated was mainly for the privileged few who could afford it. Mass systems of education were developed primarily to meet the needs of the Industrial Revolution and they mirror the principles of industrial production: linearity, conformity and standardization.” (Robinson, K. 2017, Out of our Minds- The Power of Being Creative, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, West Sussex UK, p.7).

Later he identified the need and emergence of Creative Leadership. This has been ushered in mainly by the forces of technology, particularly Digital Disruption. I believe a Creative Mindset is needed before Creative Leadership, and this is the precursor of a Creative Culture. The mindset enables leadership, then leadership enables culture.

The characteristics of linearity, conformity and standardization in thinking style, management and organisational processes are now already proving to be a dead weight. The Information Age and the resultant Creative Mindset are characterised by the opposite of the Industrial Age characteristics: multiplicity, plurality and adaptability.

Authoritative writers and researchers in the business coaching or consulting field are also noting we are at a cross-roads of leadership and organisational culture. Sir John Whitmore and Performance Consultants International identified features of the Old and New Cultures as (Whitmore, J & Performance Consultants International 2017, Coaching for Performance, 5th Edition, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London, p24-25):

Old Culture: Growth, Imposed rules, Fear, Quantity, Excess, Teaching, In/dependence, Success, Control of Nature, and Degradation.

New Culture: Sustainability, Inner Values, Trust, Quality, Sufficiency, Learning, Interdependence, Service, Natural Systems, and Re-Creation.”

We have three key forces driving this change in thinking, doing and culture. First, the fast pace of economic, social and technological change. Second, globalisation. Third, complex, non linear problems, such as climate change. Together these forces drive a need for a higher way of thinking and doing. A way that integrates purpose and balances economic, social and environmental factors. This New Balance does not produce polar win-lose outcomes, but through creatively gives us a new platform for win-win-win thinking, processes and outcomes. The highest enabler of Triple Bottom Line is the Creative Mindset, and its time has finally come.

“The mindset enables leadership, then leadership enables culture.”

Lee Spano, Creatness International,

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