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Leading for Creativity Bill Lowe Newman University Birmingham Thinking Schools Conference 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Leading for Creativity Bill Lowe Newman University Birmingham Thinking Schools Conference 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leading for Creativity Bill Lowe Newman University Birmingham Thinking Schools Conference 2014

2 Purpose: Explore the strategies used to lead creative teams in industry and see if any can be applied in educational settings

3 In order to: Confirm what we do well and help others to learn from our expertise Learn from successful colleagues Have a good understanding of what we can’t realistically do... at the moment

4 Working from: Leading creative people: Orchestrating expertise and relationships Mumford, Scott, Gaddis and Strange (2002) The Leadership Quarterly 13 p Effective leadership of creative colleagues in English primary schools Bill Lowe (2010) Management in Education Vol 24:2 p69-73 The Creative Leader Bill Lowe (2013) School Leadership Today Vol 5:1 A premium on creativity Leaders have a particularly powerful influence Leadership of creative people requires expertise Tactics need to be consistent with the needs of creative teams There are some things we think we cannot do in schools The one thing we can’t offer?

5 Process As a group: work through Mumford’s Propositions in order to Identify what we already do Consider what we could do Explain our rejection of what we cannot do

6 Why is this an issue? Some leadership styles inhibit innovation Creative potential is not always related to performance Creative work needs sustained attention and will often have negative feedback It is demanding, time-consuming and resource intensive

7 “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein “Good ideas are a dime a dozen. What’s hard is taking an idea and turning into something special.” Stan Williams. Hewlett-Packard Research Fellow.

8 A ‘creative culture’ is where Effective leaders make innovation (and therefore institutional growth) possible Leaders have the technical expertise and problem solving skills that: - provide credibility - exercise influence The way we do things here... “If you enjoy what you do, don’t be afraid of expressing your enthusiasm. Enjoyment is infectious and you will bring others along with you.”

9 Terminology ‘Creative teams’ understood as however your institution is structured (e.g. size related) so it could be the whole school/ department/ phase and so on. Those working on a project that can be seen as ‘creative’.

10 Categories: Monitoring, Evaluating and Reviewing (6) Staff Inclusion (3) Leadership and Management Culture (3) Management Systems and Structures (7) Expect some overlap

11 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review (1) Vision and direction of creative work is framed in concrete terms to define goals and clarify paths to goal attainment. The definition of goals and how to achieve them provides a strong framework of progress indicators Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

12 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review (2) Evaluation by fully participative staff informs decisions. When carried out by colleagues who have full engagement with the project, representing all levels, there is accurate reflection. It is the people who work with a project who are best placed to evaluate, not those who simply observe Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

13 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review (3) The planning activities of the Head/SLT focus more on the structure, timing and objectives of projects than the specific content and delivery of the work. Having a clear view of time frames and providing a structure within, facilitates MER by providing milestones and checkpoints. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

14 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review (4) Monitoring and recognition of progress is used for inducing and maintaining structure in creative work. Supporting your colleagues by monitoring their work and recognising what has been achieved is a way of showing genuine interest. By setting, for example, completion dates where progress is recognised, the need for a structure is made explicit and perceived as positive. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

15 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review (5) Team leaders report back on set-backs and achievements to encourage creativity and innovation. Colleagues will see that set-backs are a part of the innovation process and this can lead to increased creativity. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

16 Monitoring, Evaluation and Review (6) Leaders of the creative group screen and evaluate projects being carried out in other schools to see what others are doing. By comparing what others are doing to what we can learn from others mistakes and successes and develop and adapt projects to our own organisation. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

17 Staff inclusion (1) Leaders of creative groups recognise the expertise requirements, delegating activities when they lack requisite expertise. Knowing when you need to delegate and who to delegate to is a leadership skill. The range of staff involvement will be wider, therefore increasing colleague involvement. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

18 Staff inclusion (2) Staff with different skills are invited and encouraged to contribute to the innovation process. This is about knowing your colleagues. A leader might invite targeted colleagues but encouraging everyone to contribute is a sign of the schools innovative culture. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

19 Staff inclusion (3) Whole school involvement is increased by actively engaging all colleagues with key decision makers. A rigidly hierarchical management structure is unlikely to foster a creative culture and is unlikely to be one to encourage innovation. The more colleagues are able to be in meaningful dialogue with senior staff, the more innovation will be encouraged. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

20 Leadership and Management Culture (1) When moving away from the more prescribed strategies and frameworks colleagues rely more on the Head Teacher’s expertise and creative problem-solving skills. The Head is seen as an innovator (even ‘lead innovator’). This will have huge impact on the culture of the school. If they are keen to take the responsibility of and are fully accountable for successes and failures, colleagues are more likely to be encouraged to be creatively engaged. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

21 Leadership and Management Culture (2) Leadership is built on understanding and trust. It enhances creativity and innovation through motivation and intellectual stimulation. Senior leadership clearly shows trust in the development of creative projects. This is a clear example of the culture needed to drive innovation. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

22 Leadership and Management Culture (3) The Head/ SLT actively participate in idea generation efforts. The willingness of senior to get involved in the creative process will encourage others. They need to be aware of hijacking and domination of the project. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

23 Management systems and structures (1) Effective leadership of creative projects is embedded by those with substantial planning skills. The school’s planning systems are used to formalise the development of the project. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

24 Management systems and structures (2) School Management provides people working on creative projects with multiple forms of support (e.g. funding, time and social support). Budget and time allocation are part of the School Improvement Plan. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

25 Management systems and structures (3) A range of both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are provided for meeting expectations and people are not ‘punished’ for failure to meet expectations provided there has been adequate progress. A suspension of high and immediate expectation needs is applied. The management of the school provides a reward system to encourage innovative staff to create new projects. PM pay links? Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

26 Management systems and structures (4) Careful project selection means that the project is worth doing and is a clear statement of the school’s vision. There is rejection of ideas not seen to contribute to or enhance the school vision. Monitoring against the values of the vision will keeps the project on course. ‘Brand awareness’? Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

27 Management systems and structures (5) Head/ SLT seek to buffer creative groups, or creative individuals, from off-task organisational demands. This could be off-timetabling, release from other meetings and extra- curricular activities etc. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

28 Management systems and structures (6) Structure and formalisation are increased as projects move from generation to development and implementation. Good understanding of the practical application of structures and systems is needed for this type of fluidity. It needs robust and well used management protocols and frameworks. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

29 Management systems and structures (7) Long-term impact is preferred to short-term gain or maintenance. Creative teams are allowed short-term failure when seen as a step to success. ‘Incubation’ time is encouraged. Projects are given time to develop, often at short- term cost. Incubation time is seen as an investment. Yes and it looks like...  We could but we need to introduce...  We can’t because...

30 To conclude: Have we confirmed our successes and shared them with colleagues? Have we got any ideas form others that we can adapt/ modify/ adopt? Do we have a clear idea of what cannot work for us and genuinely know why?


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