Today we will talk about psychology. Regardless of whether you have this subject at the university and whether you need to write college papers on similar topics or not, we will tell you about some aspects of this interesting science.
There is a special quality among the psychological characteristics of a person in the recent years – innovation. That is, the ability to work with the breakthrough ideas, the ability to see them first and take up their implementation. The psychology of innovation has appeared – a separate line of the research devoted to the psychological analysis of the processes that lead to the emergence of innovations. This is the projection of the innovation process on the human psyche: how it is presented, how innovative ideas appear, how they are realized, how a person copes with difficulties in their implementation, how he or she sees the innovation processes.
Innovation and Creativity
These are psychological categories that play an important role in the process of birth, development and practical implementation of new ideas. They lie in adjacent areas, but still, these are different things. Creativity is the ability of a person to create new things, generate ideas. And the innovation is more the ability to handle all this, bring the ideas to the practical implementation as well as the human competence and productivity at all stages of the innovation process.
Not always people with a high level of innovation are highly creative, and, conversely, creative people often find it difficult to interact with other people's creative ideas. To a certain extent, this can be dictated by jealousy or even envy of another author of the original idea. A creative person does not necessarily need to be innovative, and vice versa.
A good innovative manager is a person who is sensitive to the new, who knows how to find potentially interesting ideas for developing and implementing. They do not have to invent something, they just have to be able to dispose of a good idea correctly and bring it to practical implementation.
Types of Innovation
Scientific literature presents numerous definitions and descriptions. It can be analyzed from three sides.
Firstly, it is a person's ability to be ahead, grasp the most potentially interesting ideas. Secondly, it is a set of psychological factors that increase the likelihood that a person will be an innovator. Thirdly, it can be understood as the ability to successfully and quickly understand new ideas and technologies.
In scientific literature, there are different types of innovation. We can distinguish a sensory one, associated with the desire of a person to enjoy the interaction with objects or phenomena of the external world. This can also manifest itself in behavior: for example, a person with a high level of sensory innovation can love risk, extreme sports, and unusual travel.
The second type is cognitive. This is the desire to acquire new knowledge, find surprising patterns in the functioning of the new. It is the need to understand progressive scientific directions and modern technologies.
There are also an innate and a realized innovation. The innate one is inherent in a person in any situation, it largely predetermines behavior. The realized one is manifested in a person in the specific behavioral acts. That is, in the first case, we are talking about the inner world, character, hereditary factors, and in the second case – about actual actions of a person and behavioral acts carried out by him or her.
If we talk about the classification of people according to the level of innovation, there are several well-known models. One of them has appeared within the framework of the theory of diffusion. It highlights the innovators who are sensitive to the new and ready to take a risk for it. There are people who are less effective in interacting with the new, less prone to risky decisions, but still able to interact with the innovation. And there are those who are called late: they regard the changed reality, new technologies and new products as a last resort, they are the least susceptible to them.
Another theory, authored by Michael Curton, is called adaptation-innovative. He has developed a special questionnaire-scale with which you can divide people into innovators and adapters. The first ones are presented with the personal characteristics that help a person to be ahead, take risks, show sensitivity to the new, and find new ideas. People who find themselves on the other end of the scale by their personal characteristics may be conservative, not very sensitive to the new. They do not want to take a risk for it, prefer the standard state of things.
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It was about the individual one above, although organizations and teams can also have this characteristic. The organizational innovation is understood as potential in the sense of the birth and realization of innovations which may be in demand and realized or never manifested.
In a firm, this potential determines the number of factors, including leadership, personal characteristics of managers and specialists. An important role is played by the overall psychological climate in a firm and its structural characteristics: it is rigid or, conversely, dynamic, how much such a structure contributes to the innovation or counteracts it.
This type is influenced by the management style of an organization, as well as the level of a permissible risk in its functioning. In some firms, people do not want to take risks and prefer quiet and stable business. And in others, for example, in venture companies, the risk is the basis of their activity: they are engaged in investing money in something that cannot bring results and, most likely, will not bring it.
But still, there is a small percentage of the likelihood that money will be invested in a truly breakthrough project that will pay for all the losses of the remaining projects. Companies can also differ in their attitude to the creative initiative: in some groups, it can be supported in every way which contributes to organizational innovation, while it is almost punishable in others.
In one of the classifications, two types are distinguished: a transactional and a transformational leadership. The transactional one means a classic and traditional kind of leadership when a leader controls his or her subordinates, punishes or rewards them, explains something and shows how to do it, broadcasting the demands from above. This is an understandable version of leadership which is implemented in most companies.
The second type – the transformational leadership – is extremely important for the innovative breakthroughs and development. This type changes employees and inspires them. In the case of classical leadership, of course, some innovations and changes can also be made, but the attitude of employees to their work does not change, they continue to perform their functions "on the level."
In the transformational leadership, employees become infected with an example of a boss (or someone who plays the role of the leader), they change the idea of the possible and impossible, they begin to believe that the impossible is possible, and they themselves can do the impossible. Here, the charism of the leaders is very important. Also, in this case, a cognitive and intellectual stimulation of subordinates takes place: in order to infect colleagues with their ideas and enthusiasm, leaders should not only be motivated and demonstrate their inspiration but sometimes generate the ideas to show an example of a productive intellectual initiative.
The role of a leader is difficult to overestimate. But ordinary employees and managers can also perform important functions. Among them, there may be breakthrough and creative people, creators who produce new ideas, suggest changing processes in a company and its structure and take risks. But these people are usually a minority.
But apart from them, an important role is played by the managers and specialists who understand creators and their ideas well and are ready to take an active part in the implementation of the ideas generated by the first. They can be a cover for creators: after the appearance of ideas and their approval, they calmly, methodically and effectively promote, implement and oversee these new undertakings.
If a firm manages to work under this scheme, when the creative employees come up with ideas, and the performers help to successfully implement them, then this should be made the norm of activities. And in this sense, a stabilization function appears. It can be performed by the specialists who stabilize the changes, make them a natural and harmonious part of a firm that is going along the innovative path of development.
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