Lesson1 - Creativity

‘It’s more fun to colour outside the lines ‘

Quality Improvement Skills: innovation, imagination, creativity

Children are naturally creative and self-expressive. They run, play, colour, paint, and dress up with abandon. They are driven by curiosity, willing to take risks and not afraid to be themselves. As adults we lose this joy of creativity or learn habits which stop it from emerging. A ground breaking study by Land and Jarman (1992) measured creativity of 5 year olds at 98%, in adults it was only 2%.

As adults we often view creativity and practicality as inversely related. Practical ideas are valued because they’re familiar and proven, whilst innovative ideas are seen as risky and uncertain. For successful improvement in the quality of healthcare, QI leaders need to create a compelling vision, become champions for creativity, challenge the status quo, and explore unconventional ways of solving the big improvement problems.

Innovation is about harnessing the hearts and minds of people within organisations, yet we are often reluctant to use this giant, energetic, untapped resource. Innovation is dependent on staff at all levels having the confidence to try new ideas and be unafraid of mistakes, however we continually judge and reward them based on their ability to mitigate and avoid risk. QI leaders need to nurture innovation, encouraging staff to question what they do, how they do it, why and when. Holding on to our childhood creativity requires continual practice and a supportive environment where innovation and new ideas are valued.

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