• Dr. Kim Stephens

Creativity Bias ≠ innovation. Change does not come easy.

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

One way street with a stop.
One way street with a stop.

I previously wrote about creativity bias and the trouble it can cause – holding back innovation, staying with the status quo, and stagnation.

I’m constantly preaching about the need for companies to allow for failure – fail, but fail fast. Cognitively, we know of the innovation that has come from failures – the light bulb, the sticky note, the telephone, etc. And we tell employees to think creatively, be innovative, but what we mean is “within these parameters – you get it right the first time, you don’t spend any money, and you don’t deviate from what we are comfortable with.”

Not too long ago, I was piloting a program on unconscious bias with a client. They had asked me to work with them because they needed some help in shifting the culture – my favorite kind of challenge.

I started by talking about unconscious bias awareness and change. As I started diving into the cognitive biases that hold companies back from innovating, specifically creativity bias, the grumbling began:

“We can’t talk about creativity bias here. There’s no way that will fly here – that’s not our culture.”

And, “We can’t talk to employees about creativity bias because they will get frustrated when they are not able to be innovative.”

And, believe it or not, “It’s just not going to work here. We have a very unique culture – not open to outside thinking.”

I was shocked to find the very ones who would be leading the company were illustrating creativity bias themselves. This company wasn’t ready for change, and I am not sure they ever will be.

Is your company signaling for change? How will you help to be the change agent?

Listen also this podcast on creativity bias -- Creative Change podcast

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