Innovation is needed! Isn’t it?


“If things are intangible ... well!
There is no reason to not want them...
How sad would the journey be, if it wasn't for
the magical presence of the stars!”
- Mario Quintana

A recent article in The Economist, The Printed World - republished in the Carta Capital magazine in Brazil - mentions a new technology for manufacturing goods called three-dimensional printing that creates unique products and produces them in bulk. Hence the title of the article in Portuguese, Customização em Massa (Mass Customization).

This is a new revolution that will expand the realm of industry and creativity, in the same way as the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century led to a change unimagined at that time.

The article brings us to several reflections, but I will concentrate on one aspect - Innovation and Creativity.

Going back many centuries before the eighteenth, it is worth remembering the famous Parable of the Cave told by Socrates and written by Plato in the book The Republic. It alerts us, through the history of those beings in chains (who believed that their shadows were reality), to the risk of being "static prisoners of perceptions, stereotypical beliefs and actions" . And to the risk of not seeing the unthinkable today that may be an option and opportunity tomorrow.

Brazil recently played host to a rare exhibition of the great Dutch artist Escher, who masterly disturbs us with his drawings and engravings. They make us see many things at once, which seem different with each look, leading us to question our certainties, beliefs and paradigms, in a similar way to the Parable of the Cave. It's about pure innovation / creativity.

Creativity - the ability to find innovative solutions to interpret new situations and propose ideas - was considered the most important requirement in seeking professionals, according to a recent survey. I refer to the Global CEO Study 2010, cited in the Melhor-Gestão de Pessoas magazine, conducted by IBM with CEOs from 60 countries. Creativity was also mentioned by 59% of CEOs as the most important attribute of leadership.

However, in many organizations innovation and creativity are seen incorrectly, as something for artists, geniuses, as a utopia. Utopia, as taught by the philosopher and educator Mario Cortella, refers to a future time or more simply, ‘not yet’.  

Thus, viewing innovation and creativity as a utopia may mean that it does not exist today, but may exist at another time, right?

The concept of Innovation/Creativity is more an attitude, a point of view from different angles and perspectives with an open mind for the future. And this skill is not exclusive to artists.

So, what is this paradox of creativity as the most important attribute for Leadership and, at the same time, considering new and creative solutions as utopian, in addition to resisting the acceptance and deployment of new ideas?

It is necessary for leaders to assume their role in creating innovation even knowing that the creative process involves risk. They have to analyze, try and deploy new ideas. In addition, leaders must create opportunities for employees to use their creative potential.

In conclusion of everything above:

The artist Escher became worldwide renowned for his "impossible structures". Impossible? Why?

Many impossible and unthinkable things of yesterday became possible today; many unthinkable things of today may be possibilities of tomorrow.
The mass customization is there to prove it.

And as our great poet said, quoted at the beginning: we need and want the stars even if they are intangible.

Innovation is needed!

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Thelma M. Teixeira is Project Consultant of Dasein Executive Search. Psychologist, psychodramatists, post-graduate in Business Administration, expert in Organizational and Work Psychology and in Clinical Psychology. She is the author of: Psicodrama Empresarial – o que, porque e como fazer. Publisher Santa Clara – 2008. Professor of the Brazilian Society of Psychoterapy, Group Dynamic and Psychodrama and of the Brazilian Federation of Psychodrama. To speak with Thelma, send an email to: thelma.teixeira@dasein.com.br.

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