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Quo Vadis: Where does an innovative company go next?

David Straker


-- Introduction -- Level 1 -- Level 2 -- Level 3 -- Level 4 -- Level 5 -- Limitations/future -- References --

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Level 5: Understood


Level no Level name Management style Individual approach Critical domain
5 Enlightened Deep understanding Appropriate Strategic


To maximally achieve in any activity requires getting back to the fundamentals of how things work. Athletes study physiology, artists study light and materials, and people who wish to develop real creativity and innovation in their organizations must ultimately study psychology and neurology in order to truly understand how creative thinking works.


Factors that need to be taken into account include:

  • Personal change. It is a difficult task to study and change oneself, as this is first-order change from within. To make a lasting, second order change to ourselves requires that they step outside and look back in21

  • Psychological blocks. Adams22 and others have listed many internal and external factors that act to reduce our creative potential, from environmental and cultural blocks onwards.

  • Deep drivers, such as Maslow’s hierarchy of prepotence23 and Argyris’ Model 1 Theory in Use24, which tend to make us less creative and the double-loop learning that is required to help us get out of the mire.

  • The effects of early childhood and education, and models that help to understand this, such as Transactional Analysis25.

  • Various other dysfunctional psychological effects around decision-making, such as Risk bias, Negativity bias and Confirmation bias15.

  • Interpersonal psychological effects of working in groups, including groupthink26, risky shift15 and leader dependency27.

  • Effects of personality type, such as Kirton’s Adaptor-Innovator (KAI) 28.

  • Internal modes of thinking that result both in creative ideas and ways to carry these through to practical applications. Creative people have been studied in depth and from various angles, and their mental strategies are available for adoption from a number of authors29, 30, 31.

  • The deeper cognitive effects of various stimuli such as preinventive forms31.


Does this mean we all need to become Ph.D’s in psychology? Not really. Psychological principles have long been a part of management training. All that is required is to direct and enhance this education to include those factor which will act to increase the creative ability and application within the organisation.


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