What is individual or organizational creativity? The two are connected, but are obviously far from the same.

Individual creativity is ideas or innovations by a single individual – an author writing a book or a process manager thinking of a new process, for example.

Organizational creativity is ideas or innovations attributed to a group of people that all work for the same organization. That could be a team developing, creating and marketing a new product.

So in other words, organizational creativity is a result of individual creativity – but not all individual creativity is organizational. The two are similar, but they have their own strengths and weaknesses.

The Three Main Areas of Difference

Organizations and individuals behave very differently. An organization must be efficient and predictable, but individuals can behave any way they like (within reason of course). This can be problematic when it comes to creativity.

Also, people tend to be risk-averse and shy away from change. But companies need to be innovative to survive in the modern market. So these two will often clash and create organizational idea management that is dead on arrival. This can lead to stagnation and a soul-crushing corporate culture. But how can companies counteract this?

According to Professor Gerard Puccio at Buffalo State College, companies focus on three things: People, environment, and processes.

People Are the Engine of Creativity

Your innovation will never be better than the individuals that try to move it forward. This is true for both individual and organizational creativity. This means that companies need creative people to innovate.
Individuals do think about their work, but people are often more focused on personal matters than professional ones. A company does not want to deter this, but it would like more focus on work-related ideas. This is an interesting challenge/opportunity for companies. But how can it be solved?

Encourage Work Related Ideas

Individual creativity is highly dependent on the mood and efficiency of the individual. They can try to change their outlook, but this is often difficult for people to do on their own.

On the other hand, people are easily motivated and companies can supply this motivation. So organizational creativity can often maximize its individual creativity with motivation. This motivation can be financial or simply about human engagement. This will not work on everyone, but the company is pooling ideas from many. So results should be easily measurable.
Also, a company can evaluate and decide whether to move forward with an idea or not. Sure, some individuals can do the same, but not everyone is a doer. An innovative company needs to be creative and cannot let opportunities out of its grasp.

Environment Can Do a Lot

Many companies, such as Google, Pixar, and Apple, have increased their organizational creativity by building better environments for their employees. If you want to foster creativity you need a certain physiological and physical atmosphere. Otherwise, a new idea might be thrown out just for changing the status quo. Most people fear or dislike change, and that can put a damper on radical new ideas – simply because they are new.

Therefore, individual creativity has a huge advantage on organizational creativity in regards to the environment. Individuals are free to come up with ideas anywhere they want. Companies, on the other hand, are often limited by the office. So what can they do? The best solution is a mobile idea management platform. It allows employees to come up with ideas and share them at any place and at any time. This frees the company from forced brainstorming sessions and allows the creativity to become more fluent and natural.

An Idea Management Process

A good idea management process can help increase individual and organizational creativity. You see, the biggest problem with individual creativity is when people don’t write down their ideas. Instead, they decide to do it later and forget or just decide not to it after all. A simple idea management platform, like Ideanote, can solve this.

The biggest problem in organizational creativity is not being heard or the fear of appearing stupid. A good idea management process that gives a lot of feedback and encourages all ideas can solve both of these issues.

Everything Has Its Strengths

So all in all, both organizational and individual creativity have their strengths and weaknesses. But organizational creativity needs to understand the individual part to succeed. To do this, it needs to have the correct people and nourish their creativity with motivation. It needs to create an atmosphere of innovation, and it needs to have the correct idea management processes in place. All of these are much easier with a digital idea management platform.

If you liked this article, consider checking out The Connection Between Great Leaders and Idea Management, Non-Work Related Idea Management and What is Idea Management and Why is it Important?