Move workers around to increase creativity, says research

Moving employees around in different roles within a company can boost innovation.

Company leaders wanting to generate greater creativity and get their front-line staff contributing more solutions to organisational problems should consider moving everyone around every so often, new research has found.

When front-line employees are exchanged between company sites, they contribute more valuable ideas, according to new research from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Temporary moves boost creativity, the research found, and in the automated age, those employees with creativity and aptitude for problem-solving have proved particularly valuable.

Front-line perspectives often generate promising process improvements and business opportunities that would not have been apparent to managers. As a result, front-line innovation has become one of the largest sources of sustained competitive advantage, an RSM statement said. 

“Workers increasingly create value not only by performing their core duties but by contributing to broader organisational objectives such as competitiveness and innovation as well,” said Philipp Cornelius, assistant professor of technology and operations management at RSM.

The research has showcased how strategic front-line mobility – the short, focused and purposeful exchange of staff members between different company sites – “can substantially boost” employees’ contributions to innovation and organisational learning. 

It goes on to show that moving front-line employees between places of work helps spread ideas.

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