Home Anthill Magazine How new research is helping businesses harness the power of creativity

How new research is helping businesses harness the power of creativity


It’s old news but in 2010 IBM published the global CEO survey, it found that “Creativity is the single most important leadership trait”.

But, researchers at Manchester Business School have now found a way to de-mystify creativity. Their goal is to make creativity in business more than just a catch phrase, or pipe-dream, but an applicable and achievable reality.

Creativity underpins innovation, and innovation is simply creativity put into action. There is no question that innovation drives business and social expansion, but until recently, the way it actually works has been only vaguely understood, at best.

Put your thinking caps on…

At the Manchester University Business School, a leading researcher of the psychology of creativity, Dr Mark Batey, has uncovered a number of indicators of creativity. He believes these indicators will have a significant application to business and innovation.

The research, by Batey and his team, has wide-ranging and practical applications in the workplace. By uncovering and diagnosing the creative styles of individuals and organisations, creative strengths, weaknesses and team tendencies can be uncovered, developed and put to more effective use.

Batey’s research uncovers the underlying psychological traits that make up creativity. These traits are then used to understand how people and organisations approach being creative.

The research has led to a new model for understanding how creativity works and how it is applied to business. The work of Batey and his team at the Psychometrics at Work research group, has resulted in a ground-breaking, practical tool that can be applied to individuals and organisation alike. It can diagnose the creative health and style of individuals, teams, and whole organisations.

Peace, love, and understanding!

By understanding the elements of creativity, employers and organisations can learn how to make the most of their employees’ innate creative styles, and can even recruit for particular traits. The application of this knowledge lends itself to innovation, leadership and problem-solving, and equips organisations to gain the edge in their push to be leaner, meaner and smarter.

The researchers have also found that their creativity diagnostic tool is gender, race and age neutral, which means that it can be used across a very wide range of circumstances.

Unlike other workplace personality measures, like the Myers Briggs, the Big Five or the Hogan Development Survey, which predict no more than 14% of creativity, the me2 creativity diagnostic tool has been found to predict as much as 86%.

The Manchester Univeristy Business School team believes it has the most accurate method available of diagnosing and understanding creativity, especially as it applies to the workplace.

Since the GFC, we’ve grown used to hearing that we need to harness creativity in business to stay ahead of the game. The work at Manchester University Business School makes it possible to understand how to do that.

Then again, Anthillians, what we really want to know is, how can we synthesize the creativity of oh, say, Steve Jobs, for future clones?

Lynette Jensen is a director and co-founder of workplace psychology practice, Genesys Australia (http://www.genesysaustralia.com/).