Cassandra Woolgar, Partner in our Leadership Services practice, considers the importance of creativity and innovation in our leaders of today and tomorrow. She highlights how important it is to understand the distinction between the two, whilst recognising and encouraging them across organisations to bring about change and develop health and care leadership with very positive results.
Saxton Bampfylde has built a strong reputation over 20 years for finding and nurturing leadership talent in the UK’s health and care sector. As trusted partners in this area, we have championed bringing the most talented, innovative and strategic leaders to the public and private organisations and groups that provide health and care in the UK and internationally.
Over time the sector has evolved and developed considerably. The rise of technology and the enhanced capabilities and potential to revolutionise the way health and care is delivered has made the necessity of change a constant. The management of such a significant rate of change requires strong leadership; more so than ever before. It also places a far greater spotlight on the need for strong working and management cultures where innovation, communication and collaboration are all fundamental.
Within this environment the importance of culture and creativity are critical areas to consider when appointing, advising or coaching leaders. We work closely with clients to support, assess and advise in these key areas and would like to share some of our experience and learnings.
Culture is king; cultivate it
Culture is created by people, specifically those leading an organisation. Their values and behaviours can shape those of others, often unknowingly encouraging or discouraging the actions of others. For established cultures it is vital that the desired culture, values and actions, are tied into organisational policies and values. Leaders should be aware of their own behaviours and values in order to determine where these are beneficial or should be adapted, and to be aware of how others may have different values, and hence need motivating differently to themselves.
Letting creativity blossom
The key to successfully bringing a focus to this area is understanding the difference between creativity and innovation and the impacts of each on an organisation: put simply, creativity is the generation of ideas and innovation is the implementation of ideas. Leaders can be good at both, one or neither. Identifying this is an essential first step when considering where energy should be directed to ensure the greatest productivity and the right team, working together to build the right culture to breed both creativity and innovation. Leaders who are creative can be great at generating ideas and original thinking, but they need to ensure they are not so creative that their ideas get diluted due to quantity or that others struggle to understand the concepts. They need to be careful to pick out the ideas worth pursuing, consider implementation enough and ensure they don’t neglect listening to other people’s ideas.
Inspire to innovate and create
Leaders who are innovative can be great at bringing ideas to fruition, but they need to ensure that they are listening to others and drawing on the creativity in the organisation. They need to be willing to implement other people’s ideas and to help highlight the practical considerations without stifling inventiveness.
Collaboration is essential at all stages, to harness creativity of ideas and innovation for implementation. Leaders who are less innovative and creative themselves can still create the right culture to draw on others for the creativity and innovation: be open to innovation, open to listen to others, willing to try new things, creating a no-blame culture to allow creativity and innovation to thrive.
Saxton Bampfylde works with experts who have completed research and consultation around creativity and innovation, running ‘hackathons’ to draw creativity out of the people in an organisation and guide innovation. We also work at the individual level, coaching to help leaders understand their own strengths, and harness the skills and culture needed. If you would like to know more or discuss these services in more detail, please contact Cassandra, we would be delighted to talk further.
Back to Health - 2019