The Cultural Impact on Creativity

Everyone is creative and this is evident by the fact that the first step in the act of creativity is curiosity.  People by nature are curious creatures.  Even construction sites acknowledge that fact by building peep holes into their fences so that passer-bys can look in a satisfy their curiosity to see what is being built. 

When integrating individual creativity into organizations the journey can become more complex as corporate culture begins to dictate whether new ideas are exciting opportunities or perceived as threats to the way things are being done. 

The book “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright, speaks very eloquently to the five stages of cultural development that can exist in organizations.  With one at the lowest stage and five at the highest possible stage, the authors suggest that it is a natural social phenomenon for people to gravitate to and operate in “tribes” with similar common values and outlook on life.  As well it is equally possible for people to operate at a particular stage because of the culture of the organization they are working in or feel forced to work in. 

Stage one is: “Life Sucks”, Stage two is: “My Life Sucks”, Stage three is: “I’m Great”, Stage four is: “We’re Great”, Stage five is: “Life is Great”.  At each ascending stage the possibility for creativity and growth increases exponentially.

In this unique age of the internet providing instant connection through social networking, laptops, cell phones and technology, people have gravitated more and more to formal and informal tribes.  In the business world “networking” has become a necessary practice and websites such as “linked-in” have been developed to support those practices. 

Being “connected” to others has changed very quickly and has become increasingly important with people looking for meaningful lives and concerned about larger issues such as the environment and human rights.  Individuals are now are able to reach out to people in their communities and around the world to connect and meet those needs.  Tribes may be small groups of people with common interests or grow to become huge groups that create incredible impact on the national or world stage.

Initiating creative ideas within organizations will have to consider the influence of the organizational tribal culture when attempting to engage employees and integrate those ideas.  Managing internal change has now become more like “starting a movement” than the traditional top down approach.  Engaging tribal leaders or grow individuals who can influence the tribal cultures is only one of the strategies that can be employed to create a movement. 

When you have an opportunity to read the book or google “Tribal Leadership” let me know what your experience or thoughts are on this exciting cultural topic.