Google allows its employees to experiment on projects outside of their day-to-day duties. This “innovation time off” has led to the development of several of
the company’s core offerings, including its online advertising platform AdSense
and email program Gmail.
The payoff makes sense: When employees are given the freedom to be creative, they’re more likely to turn up innovative ideas.
But in the deadline-focused, process-driven world of project management, is
there space for creative thinking?
Of course there is; it’s just a different kind of creative thinking, says Asad
Ullah Chaudhry, CEO of AUC Technologies, a project management, technology
training and consulting firm in Karachi, Pakistan.
“Process-driven projects and standardized project management methods
don’t stifle imagination,” he says. “They simply require you to use your imagina-
tion within certain boundaries.”
Having to operate under strict parameters, however, can
increase a project manager’s stress—and kill creativity. Only
10 percent of respondents to a 2012 survey by Australia-based
NeuroLeadership Group said they did their best thinking at
work. Among the factors stoking their stress and stifling their
creativity: multitasking, expanded technology and a competitive
Creativity can—and should—play a key role in project management. This type of thinking not only allows project professionals the freedom to add innovative twists to their deliverables,
but it can also help them identify alternative ways of executing
projects when standard methods are unsuccessful.
“If creative thinking was not important in project management, project
managers could easily be replaced by machines,” says Sandro Gasparoto, PgMP,
operational director for communications technology company Orange Business
Services, London, England. “Every time we deal with projects, people, stakeholders, issues and risks, we have to be creative. It’s a human science.”
and standardized project
management methods don’t
stifle imagination. They
simply require you to use your
imagination within certain boundaries.”
—Asad Ullah Chaudhry, AUC Technologies, Karachi, Pakistan