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Creativity And Innovation In A VUCA World

Seeing that the innovation process is critical for company’s success in the markets, and for its existence, it is important that a relation between the network, structure, culture, motivation, skills and learning be established within the innovative firm.

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Creativity and Innovation

Scholars engaged in research on innovation have studied creativity in organisations, as it relates to the working environment. It is pertinent to understand the motivation behind creativity, which can be intrinsically and extrinsically driven. There are few questions unanswered, as to how some start-ups, entrepreneurial firms and organisations have been very successful in fuelling innovation via creativity, while the others could not. What are the drivers to these successful innovations in general?

In a survey more than 90% of the companies expressed their interest in training that induced creativity much ahead of managing growth, finance, marketing and strategic adventures like planning etc. Creativity and innovation find its cognizance in many areas. These include the different traits in personality, the decision-making process and the competitive profiling of the firm. Creativity has its significance in opening up venues and newer approaches with the same resources yet with refined capabilities. In Covid-19 times, a VUCA situation, entrepreneurs extended beyond their boundaries in responding to problems thrust upon them. In specific, new forms of global and local collaborations were born with renewed entrepreneurial action. Creativity has been its best witnessed as we narrate this article. Resource mobilisation and optimisation was yet another initiative by seasoned entrepreneurial firms, organisations, NGO’s and even the government. Manufacturing of hand sanitizers, ventilators and personal protective equipment as an adaptable response by several enterprises is worth applauding. Even the government has gone in extending its hand on resource mobilisation, management, monitoring and controlling the bigger scenario, creatively, innovatively and responsibly.

Creativity in general has four stages. These begin with exploring, inventing, choosing and implementing. The creative individuals pioneer the new technologies to power economic growth, give birth to new industries. It is certain, the firm needs to invest in those it can entrust the power to innovate and lead the company into future. With the new order of Geo-politics, Geo-economics and fast changing global scenarios in a VUCA world, it is expected that organisations must be adaptable and resilient. These organisations, specifically start-ups must evince as highly innovative firms as they are more apt to churning out creative capabilities. On the other hand, the low innovation firms lack lesser commitments and fewer organisational resources to favour their attempts. Such enterprising communities must exhibit creative thinking and motivation.

They must exhibit organisational encouragement and promote risk taking ability, heterogenous groups, with shared commitment, seamless systems with least unwanted interfaces, expanded resource mobilisation and reduced organisational impediments. 

As a result, contemporary organisations are born, emanating with brighter newer ideas and elevated competencies that we have witnessed in times of Covid-19. Organisations, shape into competence driven holistic self-driven systems that embrace creativity and innovation, evolving in a dynamic process. More the diversified talent pooled in the higher the level of creativity embarked upon. Thus, more the attention, greater is the propensity on the creative outcome. The resources aided by an organisation that bond the functional competencies, generate higher levels of creativity that may be utilised in building the innovation. 

Conditions for Creativity

Carl Rogers observed that “In industry, creation is reserved for the few, the manager, the designer; the head of the research department, while for the many, life is devoid of original or creative effort. With scientific discovery and invention proceeding, we are told, at the rate of geometric progression, a generally passive and culture-bound people cannot cope with the multiplying issues and problems. Unless individuals, groups, and nations can imagine, construct, and creatively revise new ways of relating to these complex changes, the lights will go out”. One must have openness to experiencing fresh ideas with self-control and a renewed adaptability for newer concepts. This is going to be a new mantra.

Impact of creativity and Innovation

Large firms and organisations will definitely benefit from the economies of scale in production, but nevertheless innovation calls for different strategies. Small firms are considered to be flexible and outsmart the large ones with innovativeness and creativity. Flexibility is achieved with the help of a right atmosphere, lack of the formal structures and procedure, which impede in the process of creativity and innovation.

It is an acceptable fact, that the choice is between to innovate or to die. It is not a question where this choice has to be completed; every industry has this feature now. It can be incontestably said that innovativeness is needed to gain growth and to succeed in the markets. Enhancing innovativeness can be seen from different perspective, like to concentrate on the formal structure of the company in which the people operates. A firm needs to analyse how effective it can be in its innovative processes and how it will actually measure innovativeness. 

Culture, affects to a great extent as to how innovative the firm actually is! “Most innovative companies will be those who have created appropriate cultures and climates”. It is the contest between the explicit and implicit aspects of culture that affects to the strength of the culture and that way to the innovativeness. It is the leader’s job to create and to guide to create the culture for an innovative organisation, to effort as a catalyst to the followers. The leader’s mission is to form microclimates very similar to the new entrants in order to leverage them to be successful. 

Seeing that the innovation process is critical for company’s success in the markets, and for its existence, it is important that a relation between the network, structure, culture, motivation, skills and learning be established within the innovative firm. Change is the order of the day and hence, all processes in support to change, specifically to innovation seems to be the ulterior motive for the growth and survival of any firm, whether small or large, but it must accomplish within the reach of the firm. This will set the new boundaries of competitive advantage for evolving enterprise, embracing the power of ideas and creativity in a VUCA world.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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creativity innovation entrepreneurship start-ups COVID-19 vuca

Prof (Dr) Manoj Joshi

Dr. Manoj Joshi is a Fellow Institution of Engineers, Professor of Strategy, Director, Centre for VUCA Studies, Amity University, with 30+ years of experience in industry & research. He has authored 100+ articles, co-authored four books “VUCA in Start-ups” “The VUCA Company”, “The VUCA Learner”, “Technology Business Incubators” and is also on the Editorial Board of several international refereed Journals.

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Prof (Dr) Balvinder Shukla

The author is a Professor of Entrepreneurship, Leadership & IT and currently Vice Chancellor of Amity University Uttar Pradesh, India. She is co-author of books 'The role of business incubators in the economic growth of India' and 'Human Resource Management'. She is member of East Asia Regional Committee of Association of Commonwealth Universities.

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