In the increasingly globalized and competitive business environment, organizations are constantly in search for opportunities to continually improve their products/ services (Fox, 2010). As a result, creativity, originality, ingenuity and resourcefulness have played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of business leaders. In addition, companies are promoting the notion of “thinking outside the box”, in order to have competitive advantage (Gordon & Grant, 2006).
Technology plays a crucial role in the business world, as businesses are increasingly becoming reliant on technology to an extent that if technology was to be taken away, almost all operations across the world most likely would not survive. According to Dyer & Hal (2012), almost all industries and businesses are using computers to perform most of their operations, including even the most basic and complex ones. Technology has significant impacts on business operations. Regardless of the size of the organization, technology results in both intangible and tangible benefits to the business (Barney, 2011; Dyer & Hal, 2012). In addition, the technological infrastructure in place influences efficiency, culture, as well as the relationships of an enterprise. Barney (2011) outlined five important benefits of technology to a business enterprise, which included facilitating communication with customers, efficiency of operations, business culture and relations, security, and increasing the research capacity of an organization.
In the business world, technology fosters creativity through increasing connectedness and collaboration in the workplace (Barney, 2011). For instance, the ever increasing collaboration tools and connected devices such as online video conferencing, online meetings, smart white boards, tablets and smart phones, online document sharing, social media and telepresence are changing the manner in which employees collaborate, share and communicate, which are pivotal in fostering creativity (Fox, 2010). In addition, technology is promoting ingenuity by providing avenues through which business challenges can be tackled in an effective, inventive and original manner. For example, the application of robots is expanding from just the factory environment to the office environment through responding to questions and offering expert information as virtual help desk representatives, HR representatives and receptionists among others. A case in point is the iRobot Ava 500 vide collaboration robot, which was launched in June 2013, and combines both robotics and telepresence technology to expand the reach of busy employees. Technology also promotes resourcefulness in organizations in various ways. For instance, technology enhances mobility in the workplace by practically eliminating time and space (Barney, 2011). A case in point is the video conferencing technology, which allows businesses in different geographical regions to interact with one another without the need for physical presence; as a result, it became evident that technology cuts the travel costs, since organizations can make use of virtual meetings and distribute information with no need to be physically present in the same room. Besides, technology such as the internet allows organizations to increase their global presence at relatively low costs. Technology also promotes resourcefulness through enhancing efficiency, wherein technology speeds the work flow process. For instance, digital file storage system save printing and paper, and space costs (Rayler, 2010).
In the business environment, management is concerned with coordinating the efforts of employees, in order to achieve the organizational goals and objectives through the effective and efficient use of existing resources. According to Blanchard (2009), management is primarily concerned with controlling, directing or leading, staffing, organizing and planning in order to achieve a particular goal. Owing to the fact that enterprises are considered to be systems, management is considered to be a human function, which implies that the management approaches adopted by a firm play a pivotal role in influencing its creativity, ingenuity, originality and resourcefulness (Blanchard, 2009). Creativity is usually thought of an inborn trait; however, it can be developed and learned in the presence of a conducive environment that allows employees to express their creativity, which is a function of the firm’s management. There are several ways through which the management can foster creativity among its employees. Some of the approaches include rewarding creativity, supporting creativity, establishing innovation teams, promoting workplace diversity, and establishing a positive workplace environment (Gordon & Grant, 2006). In the current age of rapid advancements in technology, there is an increasing demand for creativity at the workplace. An example of a management approach used to foster creativity is the Google’s 20 percent program policy, whereby developers at the company are allowed to spend 20% of their working hours on their side projects. This is a management strategy, aimed at giving employees the space and time to think innovative (Google Corporation, 2011). This approach has been successful as evident with a number of Google’s best products such as Google News being attributed to the program.
Management practices are also linked to the resourcefulness of an enterprise. In the current economic turmoil, having a devastating impact on businesses, resourcefulness is becoming a key ingredient for business success. Resourcefulness focuses on doing more with less and optimization (Hall & Tolbert, 2009). Currently, there are several business practices that are consistent with the concept of resourcefulness. An example is the use of lean manufacturing by organizations such as Toyota Motor Corporation, whereby emphasis is placed on using less material, using fewer inventories, consuming less space (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2009). In this regard, the Toyota Production System has the main objectives of eliminating waste (such as waste of over production, time at hand, over production, transportation, processing itself, stock at hand, movement and making defective products), and eliminating inconsistency. Through management concepts such as lean manufacturing, it is evident that ingenuity and resourcefulness are promoted within the organization (Leber, 2005).
Human resource management practices also have an impact on the resourcefulness of an organization. According to Miner (2005), organizations should focus on human resourcefulness management, rather than just human resources management. To this end, organizations are devising their HRM strategies, based on concepts of resourcefulness such as employee productivity and attracting top talent. A case in point is the use of employee training and development aimed at improving the skills of employee to meet the ever increasing business needs. Similarly, businesses have strategies in place to attract the top talent and retain high performing employees. For instance, Google makes use of an informal corporate culture, characterized by corporate philosophies that draw upon casual principles rather than formal corporate philosophies. The working environment at Google is typified by a limited company feel, freedom and comfort for employees to express their ideas and views. For example, one of Google’s corporate philosophies states that one can be serious without necessarily being in a suit and that work should present a challenge to be tackled, which ought to be fun when addressing such challenges (Google Corporation, 2011). Google also focuses on ability, and not experience, when recruiting its employees. According to Jarvis (2011), such a HR strategy has helped the company attract the best technological talent, which has increased the resourcefulness of its employees.
In the business environment, leadership is primarily concerned with influencing employees to achieve a common goal. In addition, leadership is concerned with providing new direction and vision for employees, rather than controlling resources, as in the case of management. According to Tittemore (2003), leadership has the capacity of transforming organizations into innovative enterprises, which thrives for creative energy, ideas as well as the innovation of individuals working in the organization. Tittemore (2003) stated that the successful organization of the future will be characterized by continued innovative improvements and changes, delivery of exceptional products/ services, and unequalled service. This can only happen when the organization nurtures innovation at all organizational levels. As a result, Dyer & Hal (2012) foresee that using restrictive regulations and rules, and short term thinking is likely to lead to more “going out of business” indicators. Innovation is as a result of a workforce that has been empowered with respect to their ideas, as well as their capability to make meaningful contributions to the organization.
Creating the innovative environment is one of the greatest challenges in the current business environment. Creativity and innovation commences with the leader of the organization. In the increasingly competitive business environment, the leader should act as a coach and a collaborator, instead of a boss and a manipulator. In addition, the leader should develop a work environment that supports and nurtures creativity and innovation (Hall & Tolbert, 2009). Some of the leadership approaches that can be used in fostering creativity include creating a work environment typified by trust, cooperation and openness; an environment where co-workers are capable of demonstrating consistent behavior that shows respect for others; a precise understanding of performance accountability and requirements; reward and recognition for innovation and good work; encouraging team work and recognizing good facilitators and coaches of team work; and making use of a continuing process to lessen the gap between the vision of the organization and the current reality. An example of the innovative leadership is Apple Inc, which operates on the belief that innovation is a key to the success of the organization (Haydn, 2013).
Technology fosters creativity through increasing connectedness and collaboration in the workplace. Technology also promotes ingenuity by providing avenues through which business challenges can be tackled in an effective, inventive and original manner, such as enhancing mobility in the workplace by practically eliminating time and space. Technology also cuts the travel costs, since organizations can make use of virtual meetings and distribute information with no need to be physically present in the same room. In addition, technology also promotes resourcefulness through enhancing efficiency, wherein technology speeds the work flow process. Management practices can foster creativity through rewarding creativity, supporting creativity, establishing innovation teams, promoting workplace diversity, and establishing a positive workplace environment. In addition, management concepts such as lean manufacturing and human resourcefulness management help in increasing ingenuity and resourcefulness of organizations. With regard to leadership, innovation is a result of a workforce that has been empowered with respect to their ideas, as well as their capability to make meaningful contributions to the organization.