Creativity and pioneering, as a part of innovation management is critical for all organisations and companies where knowledge creation and use is part of their everyday activities. Creativity constitutes the ability to come up with ideas on how something can be done differently, in combination with the ability to design widely understood changes. The concept of creativity encompasses the ability of creative thinking, adaptive flexibility resulting in finding creative, original solutions that go beyond the accepted patterns. Many studies suggest that European institutions are ‘reinventing the wheel’ and they should boost their creativity in order to be innovative and competitive in the research community. The quality of the people is the distinguished feature of successful organisations. This is the reason recently emerged management disciplines such as knowledge management. 

Creativity techniques are methods that encourage creative actions, whether in the arts or sciences. They focus on a variety of aspects of creativity, including techniques for idea generation and divergent thinking, methods of reframing problems, changes in the affective environment and so on. They can be used as part of problem solving, artistic expression, or therapy.

InnCREA is an European social innovation project that aims to transfer, adapt and implement an integrated training programme package (material and methodologies) for teaching creativity and pioneering in pursuit of innovation in order to develop HE students soft skills and, at the same time, contribute do diminish the gap between skills in demand in the labor market and the skills offered by HE courses. This initiative also aims at engaging into systematic and permanent dialogue between HE institutions, employers and all relevant stakeholders: HE students, community, local/regional authorities and other organisations across the EU. 

The innCREA project objectives are in line with Europe 2020 priority for inclusive growth through delivering a high-employability economy, and directly will contribute to achieving one of the strategy’s targets “employment rate of the population aged 20-64 should increase from the current 69% to at least 75%”. The innCREA project outputs aim to provide a comprehensive program, addressing main labour market stakeholders with regard to diminishing the mismatch between HE students’ skills and the skills sought by the market and thus reducing youth unemployment.

This innCREA Guideline constitutes the second intellectual output of the project and was developed with the participation of all the project partners. The innCREA Guideline answered the question how to implement new creative techniques, such as diagnosis, analysis, method selection, etc. to effectively and efficiently work with students individually and in groups as well as in other organisations such as companies. Furthermore, it has also included new techniques that have been developed within the framework of the innCREA project. This has enabled the implementation at the university of additional programmes to teach soft skills, required in the labour market. Based on the experience gained from business, the developed innCREA methodology will be manifold since it can be easily implemented at universities, companies and other institutions that require creative work from their employees.

The innCREA methodology is not only targeted at university departments, but also at SMEs, R&D organisations, vocational training institutes, business associations and other interested parties.

The innCREA Guideline is directed at academic staff and lecturers as well as people who do not have overall knowledge of the many-faceted elements of creativity and pioneering as a part of innovation management but who wish or need to know more about it. Therefore, the innCREA Guideline also addresses students or continuing professional development trainees who might use it as a guide for creativity and pioneering management related subjects. Business consultants might wish to use it as an additional tool to support their clients or to give them a general understanding of creativity and pioneering as a part of innovation management issues.

The innCREA Guideline is divided in five separate sections. Firstly, Introduction followed by Creativity Audit Tool. The innCREA audit tool determines creativity levels that are related to types of creativity skills used in work environments separated into those used by individuals, by teams working together to find solutions, by leaders in their leadership roles, and those used across organizations. Because each role, working alone, working in a team, leading a team, being part of a larger organisation, has specific characteristics, the assessments focus on the soft skills most needed for each role/level separately.

The innCREA audit tool is designed to be used in conjunction with the innCREA crash courses and individual creativity exercises. The audit tool can be used in various contexts such as onboarding, team-building, staff workshop days, or simply as a tool that is provided as an optional activity for staff to choose to use themselves to strengthen their own soft skill capacity. It includes assessment and interpretation of results. Once the respondent has completed the questionnaire, the system provides a result based on the answers given. This result measures the current creativity knowledge at the level on which the audit was undertaken. The audit tool can be used periodically to measure progress and the techniques offer the flexibility to be used repeatedly by changing topics and increasing complexity and difficulty. The innCREA Guidelines also include description of the courses to develop creativity, divided by individual, team, organisation and leadership level. 

The following part of the innCREA, examines the research conducted by project partners. Structured in-depth interviews have been conducted by each partner with university lecturers or employers. The purpose of this activity was to develop the new standards of creativity techniques. Each interview consisted of a description of the main goal of the technique and for what situations it is useful; step by step how the technique is applied; the preconditions for applying the technique successfully; and situations when the technique was applied and the results that were achieved. Subsequently, each partner has analysed and documented the results from the interviews in in-depth interview reports. 

It can be concluded that the innCREA Course offers concrete ways to measure and develop creativity and soft skills. The innCREA will provide a way to concretely measure levels of individual, team, leadership and organisational creativity.