Overcoming Barriers to Creativity in a Corporate Environment

Personally as Head of Industrial Design for an in-house design department I find this quote particularly interesting and quite an accurate reflection of creativity in most corporate environments.

In a recent survey by our company, eight out of 10 in-house designers said it’s difficult to convince senior management to accept ideas that deviate from the prevailing corporate style. And more than a quarter of respondents cited their company’s unwillingness to take risks as the most frequent obstacle to creativity. ~The Creative Group

After this quote, The Creative Group provides 7 suggestions on how to overcome barriers to creativity in the corporate world. Much of it is a no brainer, but a good reminder for all of us. My comments are listed after each point.

1) Design is not just ‘window dressing.’ ~ It is a strategic competitive advantage that covers the organization’s needs and future goals.

2) Work on your soft skills.
~ Watercooler talk is vital for getting the buy in.
3) Educate and enlighten. ~ Designers need to take the creative lead and help educate and drive product innovation strategies.
4) Build your case. ~ Designers need to wear different hats and understand who they are speaking to.

5) Give examples.
~ Case studies help in reducing risk and the unknown.

6) Avoid jargon.
~ Design talk in a language people can understand. So read Design Sojourn!

7) Show you’re a winner.
~ Winning design awards inspires and encourages trust in the designer’s ability to do it right.

Check out the rest of the details in the full article at Designophy
However if you are hungry for more information on this is issue, I’ve written quite a few articles focusing on this same point here at Design Sojourn. Here are my tips in the form of links to articles.
1) The Corporate Designer’s Survival Guide
2) Why do I always get rejected? 10 tips on how to get the “buy in”. This article comes in 2 parts: Part 1 and Part 2
3) Six Tips for Managing Design or Specification “Creep”
4) Intrapreneurship in an Asian context. Possibility or Myth?
Enjoy!

2 Comments
  • Mario Vellandi

    March 20, 2008 at 9:28 am Reply

    Hi DT, I’d say building the case is the most important, then customizing the verbal delivery using keywords and POVs that reflect the values and interests of each audience. At least that way one might receive the opp for an exploratory study.

  • DT

    March 20, 2008 at 11:17 am Reply

    Hi Mario,
    Thanks for your comments and for stopping by.
    I fully agree, POVs are vital for delivering the design intent clearly. The trouble is designers don’t take the time to learn or understand the keywords required for delivery.

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