Tuomas Auvinen: Radical creativity as culture
Addressing complex systemic problems, such as the climate crisis, social exclusion, inequality or threats to democracy, requires new solutions and new ways of working together.
We are increasingly working and developing new solutions in networks instead of clear and stable organizations or units, and this approach is characterized by constant and accelerating change. If we solve a unique and complex problem for the first time, no one can know in advance what the outcome will be. Addressing such challenges requires learning new ways of working and mastering new skills.
The good news is, that we can learn to operate in a so-called "VUCCA world" or VUCA that comes from the words volatile, uncertain, complex, chaotic and ambiguous.
Learning by experimenting is an integral element of creativity
Creativity is needed when there are no existing clear solutions. The best way to proceed is to take small steps, to learn by experimenting.
It is crucial to acknowledge the richness and diversity of creative thinking and doing which already exists in Aalto’s many departments, units and individuals. Creativity is not a monolithic concept. It is therefore important that we actively develop different approaches to creativity. We want this diversity to be present in the future as well.
There are several experimental, iterative approaches, for example, agile management, creative problem solving, design thinking, artistic creation, adaptive leadership, or lean leadership, just to name a few.
All of these share one founding principle: learning through experimentation and failure. The more we experiment, the faster we learn. We can also learn by sharing the unexpected outcomes that we couldn’t anticipate with our community.
How could you start to experiment in your work?
Experimentation requires a different mindset than routine work: when we start doing something completely new, we need to tolerate uncertainty and have the courage to admit that we don’t know everything in the beginning.
Every individual, team, and organization can benefit from experimental, creative processes. When we learn from our failures, we will also succeed and find innovative solutions faster.
Therefore, in our current strategy, we'll focus on developing the competencies and prerequisites for radical creativity at Aalto.
An idea that may sound crazy at first can be the key to solving significant challenges. Aalto University provides a favourable environment for daring initiatives that can lead to the discovery of some genuinely novel solutions.