Who Killed Creativity? How Can We Get Creativity Back?


Creative Ideas for Innovation in Business and Beyond


Dec 3rd, 2015

True social responsibility

In their recent article, How can leadership teams find innovative solutions to sustainability challenges?, Gaia and Andrew discuss how contemporary organisations often have to juggle social responsibility and sustainability with profit. The choice between one or the other can result in an abandonment of wider community responsibilities.

In order to grow domestic and international business in a sustainable way, it is important that all responsibility factors are considered. For example, buying furniture made in a sweat shop is not ethically responsible, and although there will be impact on the profit, it must be addressed for long term success.

Unfortunately, there is no denying that the easy route for many companies would be one of ignorance (and therefore less accountability) or active cover-up of poor practices. In this case, arguably, the consumer is none the wiser, and the tension between CSR and profit will be pulled firmly towards the profit.

Is this kind of cover up – or ignorant bliss – as easy as it was a decade or so ago? Certainly in the fashion sector there is increased spotlight on the companies’ ethical approaches to how their merchandise is produced. Apps, documentaries and a general increased awareness of sustainability have forced this tension between CSR and financial concerns into the spotlight. Companies need to keep up with the demands of the market, and right now the demand is for more visibility, accountability and ethical awareness.

As Andrew and Gaia point out, in order to succeed, companies need to learn how to be flexible when it comes to balancing between concerns of profit and sustainability. With the rise of social media, internet access and electronic paper trails the consumer is able more than ever before to actively engage with the production process. Obviously consumers have always been a consideration for businesses, but now their new tools of hashtags, blogging and online articles have made the companies more accountable.

Gaia and Andrew’s article explores the potential of sensemaking approaches in managing this new dialogue of CSR. There is a need for businesses to be flexible – to be able to adapt to this new dialogue, in order to engage in true corporate social responsibility. By looking at this problem through a new lens, one will be able to find innovative new solutions. As an example, festivals are now engaging in green practices whilst simultaneously lessening the cost of car park rental by decreasing ticket prices for those that engage in carpooling.

There are no concrete formulas on how to balance profit and CSR. Yet, this new context of sense making, unpredictable and stimulating, should be seen as an exciting opportunity for the business sector to improve their CSR record, and change the world around them for the better.

InThink>Biz Editorial Team

December 3, 2015

Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant are the directors of Tirian, and authors of the breakthrough book ‘Who Killed Creativity?… And How Can We Get it Back?: Seven essential strategies for making yourself, your team and your organisation more innovative’.http://www.tirian.com/articles/leadership-task-performance/how-can-leadership-teams-find-innovative-solutions-to-sustainability-challenges/
Kate Bettes has the role of Executive Support at Tirian. She is completing a degree in international relations and aspires to be a writer on current issues.

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