Creativity and Innovation – A Leader’s Nightmare?

“Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate”
– Edward De Bono

Creativity and Innovation - A Leader’s Nightmare?Creativity and innovation are buzzwords in today’s business world and the need for Creative Thinking Skills Training is vital and pertinent. When we think of creativity, the names Steve Jobs and Bill Gates come to mind. These names often overwhelm people and creativity becomes a daunting task, as they feel incapable of reaching these levels.

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau

This picture is a manifestation of the quote. An everyday scene of two zebras grazing in the pasture triggered the photographer to take a picture that could be termed ‘innovative’, ‘creative’ and ‘thought-provoking’. The capability of the photographer to see the ‘unusual in the usual’ is what led to this photograph. This, in short, is the most desirable competency in a leader today.

There is an opportunity for embracing a new way of doing even the simplest things – how you give feedback, how you reach customers, how you position your products and so on. All things in this universe are reduced to a lower state with time. A wooden table starts to wear, humans lose energy and organs start to fail, roads have to be re-laid etc. The way a person did an activity at age 20 will have to be different when he does it at 50 and 80. How the roads were tarred 10 years ago is very different from how it is done today. In short, we are constantly innovating. Noticing the small innovations will build up the capability to embark upon bigger ones.

“The key question when we conduct leadership training isn’t “What fosters creativity?” But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.” — Abraham Maslow.

So if you are one of those who find yourself all at sea when it comes to creative thinking and left wondering how to improve creative thinking, it will help you to know that it is after all a skill that can be learnt. MMM Training Solutions offers programs on creative thinking skills that can just be the answer to your problem. Our creative thinking training programs helps you develop a disciplined approach to innovation, idea generation, concept development and strategy.

Creativity and Appetite for Risk – Is Jeff Bezos a fool or a leader?

As I read about the octocopter drones in the newspaper yesterday morning, I thought I was watching a science fiction movie in my dream. After pinching myself to reality, I raced to the Internet and watched Jeff Bezos of Amazon being interviewed on 60 minutes.

I was entranced by the octocopter but even more mesmerized by Jeff Bezos who has the courage to take such a huge risk. Bezos stated that the time between receiving the request from the customer and delivering the product to the customer is shortening everyday and if the innovations are not targeted in this area, the business dies. In his quest to keep his business fresh and listening to the voice of the customer, he has revealed that Amazon has invested in the research and development of the octocopter which is a GPRS driven electrical device that will deliver packages (of maximum weight of 5 pounds) within a 10-mile radius in a window of 30 minutes. The description of ‘fast’ needs to be rewritten in the dictionary!

“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.”― Albert Einstein

As a leadership trainer, people who push the limit and are willing to take the fall always fascinate me. Managers who are conservative and cautious are becoming obsolete in today’s market. The ability to explore unexplored paths and make imagination a reality are core competencies of a leader today. In the 19th century, business encouraged people to be risk-averse but today people have to risk-hungry. Situations that are risky are seen as an opportunity for creative thinking and growth.

Corporates that focus on leadership development should be asking themselves some key questions – Are we encouraging creativity, innovation and risk-taking in our people? Are we rewarding these qualities and is it a part of performance management? Are we talking about these qualities only for the top management or are we creating this environment for people as soon as they join the company?

The leadership programs conducted by MMM Training Solutions focuses on the core competencies of a leader that are essential for success in the 21st century. Some of the distinguishing features of our program are – duration of 3 to 6 months, combination of individual coaching and group training and individual assignments that help the participants to put the learning into practice.

An amazing story of Perseverance and Persistence!

Today we are facing global recession and the only stories we are hearing on the news are the ones of grief, sadness and loss. So we decided to write about an Indian named Sarathbabu who grew up in dismal conditions but through his persistence, perseverance and belief in himself, he is now a successful entrepreneur employing over 200 people – most of whom are from the village he grew up in.

Sarathbabu grew up in the slums of Madipakkam within the metropolitan city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. His large family of 6 people was solely supported by his mother who had to work 2 jobs in order to sustain the family. During the day time she made idilis (rice cakes) and sold it on the roads of Chennai, in the sweltering heat.

As a boy, Sarathbabu was very intelligent; a topper throughout his years in school. He worked from a very young age to help pay his school fees by binding books. Very soon he got the taste of entrepreneurship and within a short while of graduating from 10th grade, he started his own business of binding books. He provided employment to the children of his own village. The good will that he built up with this decision to hire people from his own village set the stage for the success of his present venture, Foodking.

Upon graduating from one of the most premier management institutes in India – the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, he was offered a very lucrative job making Rs.20 lakhs per year. He turned down this offer in order to pursue his dream of helping the people he grew up with. His growth from the slums of Madipakkam to the posh regions of Hyderabad where he founded Foodking Catering Services, is no ordinary story.

His ambition had been to employ as many poor people as he can, and to improve the quality of their life. In all of this, he has not forgotten his mother- his inspiration; the root of his strong character and extraordinary success!

This inspiring rags-to-riches tale, that of the real life Slum Dog Millionaire, is one amongst the various stories that just goes on to show how one can succeed regardless of hurdles and difficulties that come in the way. If you couple the thought of good intentions with the qualities of integrity and sincerity- you have a venture that would see its way through any blinding storm.