Senior leaders, mobilize your creative thinking!
24 February 2021
Hauts dirigeants, mobilisez votre pensée créative!
February 24, 2021


It is no longer up for debate, creativity and innovation are essential factors in the development and performance of any organization. But they don't always come to order. The senior manager must rely on a set of tools, levers and approaches to steer his boat on the right side and facilitate their emergence among staff.

The first tip for doing this? Question your organization's business model. But how do we know when it's time? According to Laurent Simon , professor at HEC Montréal as well as co-founder and co-director of Mosaic, Creativity and Innovation Center, there is always time to question it. And the best way is to use the Business Model Canvas, known throughout the world.

“The great strength of this approach is that it gives us a mirror of what the organization is,” he emphasizes. It is an integrated model which makes it possible to identify how this produces value and which deserves to be considered regularly, particularly in a context which is increasingly complex, dynamic and turbulent. Used wisely, this matrix becomes a platform for making further hypotheses and explorations. »

This sort of third eye above the company leads managers to constantly question themselves: are we in the right place, are we generating value and are we communicating adequately with our customers?

“It’s the good and the bad conscience,” says Professor Simon, “it’s a bit like the strategist’s Jiminy Cricket! But what is important is to take it into account while not locking ourselves into models that might not be relevant for the market, customers, users. »

Encourage creativity

A second piece of advice for thinking differently? Laurent Simon insists on the fact that we are rarely – if ever – creative alone. According to him, one of the first conditions favorable to creativity in business is openness internally and externally.

“It is important for any leader to develop a participatory perspective, to mobilize employees, to give them a voice, to work beyond and below silos,” he says. And there is an increasing tendency to integrate the user into innovation models. Moreover, if we look at the world of health, we can ask ourselves the question: who is the best pain expert? It’s necessarily the patient. »

Crucially, to foster creativity, the organization must be open to receiving feedback and provide space for ideas and debate. “There is certainly a responsibility of management in the emergence of creativity,” he explains. There are managerial practices, tools and methods, but the rare resource remains to make room for it and invest time in it. »

With all this, is creativity enough to generate business growth? “No, but it’s a starting point,” concludes Laurent Simon. Afterwards, the big challenge is to realize that an idea is the start of a process. This will also require making an effort to convert the idea into a value hypothesis, and to test the latter to derive a business model. »

If you want to increase your ability to master the levers of value creation which are essential in the new movement in the business world, discover the Ascension program of the HEC Montréal School of Managers, of which Laurent Simon is one of the facilitators.