Innovation is a core aspect of any organization that strives for continuous improvement. Looking at the workplace problem stated in the initial work, it is evident that the leadership of the organization needs to adopt innovation in order to ensure effective interactions and communication between the CEO and employees. Innovation will also enhance transformation in leadership to ensure that updated operational techniques are used. This paper explores the various prepositions by different authors regarding the use of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) in enhancing creativity and innovation by incorporating various aspects such as work situation in an organization.
Soft systems methodology was projected by Peter Checkland as a platform for implementing what he referred to as ‘soft’ system thinking. Despite the fact that the SSM has for a long time been associated with information systems analysis, it was initially designed as an operational research technique (Stacy, 2011). Nightingale (1998) mentioned that SSM is an interpretive approach that views system analysis as a process of inquiry into issues affecting human activities, both in personal and organizational level.
According to Stacy (2011), SSM clearly recognizes the diverse nature of information system reasonableness. Therefore, it does not aim to define the best system, but to make the diverse requirements effective on the part of different stakeholders. That is achieved by exploring the issue in a platform that fosters discussion as well as debate among all individuals in an organization (Checkland, 2013). Based on the concept of social construction and incremental firm learning, SSM can be a vital incorporation in an organization that is innovation and creativity-oriented because it enables appropriate human, social, political and cultural factors in order to create structure and act as open organizations in the system analysis process.
Moreover, Stacy (2011) claims that Soft System Methods may b applied as a sense making tool, and that the technique itself is naturally innovative and flexible. The compare the Soft System Methods principles allow for room for creative as well as innovative application of the principles that are specific to a given circumstance, participants and users of the methodology. Soft Systems Methodology also enables its users to use open updates pertaining to any ideas. Moreover, when a process is well structured by the application of Soft Systems Methods, then it is best placed in making insights and creating commitments (Checkland, 2013).
According to Gao, Li & Nakamori (2002), ‘innovation is the capability to respond adaptively to the needs for new approaches as well as new products.’ The authors consider that creativity is composed of six components, and outline them as recognizing patterns, creating connections, taking the necessary risks, challenging existing assumptions, taking advantage of available chance and seeing it in a different perception. On the other hand, Checkland (2000) describes the creative or innovative thinking process as the ability to sense difficulties, issues, gaps in given information, missing elements, something askew, making guesses and hypotheses, revising.
Checkland (2013) hypothesized that there are several aspects that can promote or impede innovation in the workplace. Those factors that enhance innovation are freedom of employees, efficient management and control, adequate required resources, a positive environment for ideas presented, encouragement from the firm, encouragement from the management, supervisors and other work groups as well as positive responses.
Nightingale (1998) added that Soft System Methods deal with messy and problematic situations that occur in an organization. SSM try to learn from the various problematic situations that occur in an organization rather than dealing directly with decreasing the complexity of that problem in attempts to enable mathematical solutions by the use of hard sysstems. Soft Systems Methods are used to analyze not any existing issue in an organization, but the method that is most appropriate especially in situations where the issue cannot be analyzed as search for an efficient way of attaining defined end or an issue whose end results, goals, purpose are themselves problematic.
Soft Systems Method occurs in a series of steps. According to Stacy (2011), the series are not imposed on the practitioner but instead, a study can commence from any given stage as long as there is iteration and backtracking. She also added that component sections that are human beings, influence the significant features of firms and they add significant meaning to their situation. Most importantly, they determine their own objectives for the company.
Kash & Rycroft (2002) agreed that the application of rich pictures is one of the most innovative elements of SSM. Most industries with traditional structures like building and construction along with engineering are required to review their working strategies. Kash & Rycroft also recommend that SSM is an effective and significant approach that organizations in such industries should apply to enable them efficiently undergo those changes and improve their work practices. Nightingale (1998) adds saying that the potential of the SSM depends on identifying the problems early enough in the building and construction companies since it enables the various stakeholders to attain common comprehension of the problem situation in the company.
In conclusion, any organization that strives for success should strive to use the best innovation approaches as possible. Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is greatly applicable in succeeding organizations since it assists in determining problems in advance and formulating solutions. It is clear that SSM accommodates new ideas and varying perceptions. It is also evident that SSM is capable of fuel debate along with allowing the use of individual and socially made group knowledge and experience.