Back in the early 1980s Roger von Oech got everyone excited about the power of creativity. His book, A Whack on the Side of the Head, was a business best-seller as many CEOs believe that if their people were more creative, the company would perform better. Truth of the matter is that most companies do not lack for ideas, or even great ideas. They lack the ability to execute on those ideas, or the few right ones.
A couple of weeks ago, Paul Currant wrote an intriguing blog post: “Why Companies Shouldn’t Hire Creative People.” He tells a story of a prior and successful boss of his who realized the company she had been hired to turn around did not lack for creativity, they lacked for execution. It is also likely that her preferred behavior style was not a creative either, so she pushed the company to do things that were comfortable for her, and right for the company.
Innovation, the engine of competitive advantage, is not about creativity. It is about taking new ideas and DOING something with them.