Achieving Sustainable Competitive Advantage through Innovation and Creativity within the Organization

Creativity defined as the ability or skills to produce and generate ideas that come from thinking and brainstorming process. The ideas generated that creates value and executable, should be reasonable. While innovation defined as the process whereby new or improved products, process, and materials developed and transferred to plant and/or markets where they are appropriate. While creativity is producing ideas, innovation is about how to execute the ideas on the real field.

In today’s market dynamics, the turbulences and challenges are continuously come against any firm and any industry in the world. The mass mega-trends like globalization, financial crisis, and technological advancement in fast-pacing acceleration demand any company to have capabilities, which quick to adapt with the ever changing trends if they want to thrive or at least survive. Furthermore, stagnancy and static actions would not support the sustainable growth that every company must pursue in any business phase of growth. Therefore, creativity and innovation must be embedded within any organization’s culture, vision and mission through empowerment of every individual within that organization to have attitude and aptitude of creativity at any level and at any task in regular basis.

Creativity generates ideas that provide the organization with whole new or improved set of possibilities of doing something or producing new goods and provision of services.

The generated ideas may come from any staff at any level of the company. That’s why all top level managers should empower their subordinates with freedom and rights to express their ideas regarding new value offerings that the firm may promote to enhance consumer satisfaction towards the organization. It is important to involve staffs from cross-functional department considering that they come from different knowledge and backgrounds and the area of expertise to generate new integrated and valuable yet creative ideas that is executable for the sake of every stakeholder’s benefits. This process of ideas generation is called brainstorming where every people contributing boldly to the development of whole set of new ideas regarding new or improved creation of goods and provision of services. Developing mindset that always asking questions and thinking laterally within organizational culture is also essential in the direction towards an organization which is creative and keep innovating in order to achieve and maintain competitive advantage. Every staff should be encouraged to not to accept every assumption given from the top management level but rather they have mindset that challenges every assumption  by asking “what if” questions to explore the extent for every issues. This challenging assumption mindset helps the staffs within the organization to explore all the possibilities of new ideas to contribute to the organizational goals of achieving and maintaining competitive advantage as Peter F. Drucker stated, “Opportunity favours the prepared mind.”

It is obvious to any organizations to focus on every department of the company to have creativity and innovation mindset, not just for R&D department. Every staff has to be lead and transformed boldly into “entrepreneur within an organization” called intrapreneur.

From the very beginning of the Human Resource Management department, which is from hiring stage, this attitude has to be implemented. Selecting possible employees by analysing their creativity and innovativeness is crucial if not the most important aspects of developing a set of criterions of hiring as the experience and academicals knowledge could be learned as the newly hired employee goes along in working within the organization. Hiring creative, innovative, and learning employee is crucial towards firm’s evolution to the learning organization as the key aspect of creativity and innovation is people.

Innovation has to be encouraged to keep take place in firm’s regular based activities even though the success of innovation has to be going through experimental events which is not always bears good and satisfactory result at the initial phase of experiment. The execution of developing and implementing new ideas has to be promoted in freedom grounds to ensure the flourish of ideas producing capabilities but also has to be controlled and adjusted to the firm’s resources  and budgets considering if it’s an internal innovation. External innovation through acquiring technologies and capabilities from outsourcing is another alternative if the firm’s resources aren’t adequate to support the innovation process.

The example of this issue is a giant multinational and multibrands company called Proctor and Gamble. Throughout its firm 165 years of history, P7G relentlessly introducing whole set of new product lines through its multiple distribution streams. P&G innovate internally, through its state of the art R&D department and also innovate externally through partnership and acquisitions to introduce better value offerings of their new products development.

P&G achieved this massive level of creativity and innovation through empowerment of every staff within the organization at any department of ideas expression in freedom by providing them internal web-based portal of ideas so every staff could post their ideas there and gains feedback from other staffs or managers and give rewards and recognition to ideas champion that able to bring significant change towards growth, and company’s image and consumer’s brand loyalty. Through this adorable attitude P&G not only survive within the tight competition of consumer’s goods market but continuously thrive and growth until now becoming one of the largest and most respectful company within the industry in the world.

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