Creativity and Innovation: Fortress Case Study
The invention of information technology in the commercial sector has proved to be very beneficial in the modern world. Fortress Company is a retail shop established in 1975 by the AS Watson group. Customers can make purchases on the face-to-face basis or through the online platforms. The company mainly deals with electronic gadgets like cameras, mobile phones, and other electronic gadgets. The company also sells medical and beauty products and has approximately 95 stores all over Hong Kong, China. However, the main store/sales office is based in Times Square Shopping Centre. The company’s staffs are professionals and are roughly 1500 in number. The company has a record of excelling in its operations for the last 48 years it has been in the sales and marketing sector. The main objective of this paper is to examine and analyze the information obtained from the websites as well as that from the insights obtained from visiting the Times Square marketing Centre in Hong Kong. Using the information gathered, the paper will analyze creativity, organizational knowledge, and innovation in the company. In addition, it will propose some recommendations and possible solutions that the company can consider to better its performance in relation to organizational knowledge, innovation, and creativity.
Creativity and Innovation-THIS IS A SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
The employees work as a team in designing other company’s websites. There are several websites established by the company each complimenting the other. In the various websites, the Company describes every available item on sale. The websites are utilized in uploading a picture of each item showing the front view, and back view. The pictures uploaded are usually colored, and the measurements of the product are also indicated. A customer could be able to decide on the product they want from the clear representation of the actual product on the websites. This portrays creativity in the company because the pictures on the websites not only attract customers to purchase but also gives an assurance to them that they will get what they order. The online displays help customers in reaching wise decisions. A customer can decide based on the representation, color, size, physical appearance and description given. A visual representation saves one time, and one does not need to create imagination like in the cases where only a written description is given. In addition, a customer may gather a lot of information from the various websites. However, I observed that there is a poor interaction between customers and staff in the websites. The managers do not engage with the employees in decision-making. The company leaders should lead by example by involving employees in decision-making and enlighten them on the company’s vision, goals, and objectives.
Most of the staff members are business professionals and apply the knowledge acquired through schooling, training, and experience in the business. For example, Cancellation of the previous cost and current cost in most cases portrays a decline in the price. This attracts customers’ attention, and in most cases, the customers are tempted to think that the products are on offer and that it is likely that the cost will increase after a short period. Gopalakrishnan et al. (2015) state that “While specific cost goals result in product cost than general cost … in essence the concurrent NDP process when paired with a specific cost reduction target, can actually place an additional cognitive demand on the target group” (p. 35). The company understands that customers prefer to buy goods at low prices because they feel that they can purchase more. In addition, they can buy other goods with the discount offered. It is unusual for a business to reduce the cost of goods and end up making losses. This strategy is creative because although the company makes less profit on each product, they can make massive sales within a short period and make quick small profits (Carayanis 2015). However, I noticed that the Fortress Company concentrates on increasing stores instead of improving the old existing stores. The company should renovate old stores and improve their physical appearances.
When I visited the Times Square location, the receptionist told me that the company gives members a chance to suggest on designs they can use in their shops that will attract customers. The Times Square shopping Centre was well decorated with attractive designs and fitted with attractive windows and doors. The receptionist said that it was their sales manager’s idea. This proves that the company encourages creativity among the employees. This was a good and well thought of the idea because a customer passing along the corridor may spot a product that they may find useful even though they had no plans of buying it in the near future. This is creativity by the company because window transparency and beautiful, attractive product designs attract impulse buyers and as a result, increases the company’s sales which translates to more profits. However, I observed that some of the designs are exaggerated which might mislead customers.
The company has also employed computer-programming experts who ensure that it is always in the same market advantage as its competitors. The company uses the online platform and have a physical location as well. Currently, people have embraced information technology because they can easily connect and communicate with any part of the world. The Fortress Company takes advantage of the great IT innovation in commerce (e-commerce). Having an online sales platform attracts customers from all over the world. The company runs an application where customers can monitor entry of new products at the comfort of their homes. According to the receptionist, the programmers update the company’s managers on every new trend in the digital world. The managers then share the information with fellow staff members and ask them to propose some aspects to include in the websites/application. This is highly creative because most people in the world access the internet daily. A customer may come across a product from their website and decide to buy because the product may be essential to them, but unavailable in their locality. In addition, the payment and transportation method are indicated on the website. Therefore, the customers are assured of getting the products ordered online. Also, a customer may refer a friend to the company using the company’s link. The company is innovative because it uses both a physical location where customers can visit and shop and an online platform where they can order for deliveries in any part of the world. The fact that customers can refer their friends increases the company’s coverage and profits. On the contrary, the interaction between employees and customers is poor on the websites and customers may spend a lot of time waiting for their concerns to be considered. The company should have specific personnel which can be responding to and monitoring customers’ requests.
The company has employed staff with diverse skills. The workforce is mainly composed of computer programmers, accountants, marketers and many more experts. These people come together; each shares his/her idea with the other people. They discuss the advantages and disadvantages and after that decide whether it will be beneficial to the company or not. The cashier said that it always feels right to ask anything that an employee does not understand because they are never rebuked or looked down upon by their fellow workers since they relate as friends and family. She said that the manager encourages them to ask anything so that they can be able to answer any possible questions from the customers. I noted that when an attendant is not aware of how a new, unfamiliar gadget works he/she goes to ask for help from the next attendant who willingly shows him/her. For example, there is a customer who wanted to buy a home theater. The attendant did not know how to connect with it because she was not familiar with the gadgets as she was helping a fellow attendant who had an emergency. She approached the man in the next lane and was gladly shown how to connect the home theater. However, she said that the employees are not given free time unless one has an emergency. She said that they are always exhausted and never have time to interact with other people outside the work environment. As thus, the employees hardly learn new things outside their working environment. The cashier also said that there is a poor relationship between employees and managers and between, casual workers and professionals.
The company holds conferences on a monthly basis where they share ideas and update the staff on new changes in the company. Managers from various departments meet with their staff members and share knowledge. They give each employee a chance to comment on the company’s operation and also give recommendations on what can be done to improve the company’s operations or meet customers’ needs. Employees also have a chance to meet with the managers in other departments which diversifies their field of knowledge. The receptionist said that she is always excited whenever the meeting approaches because she learns something new from her workmates in other departments. For example, she stated that in the previous meeting she learned that the young generation loves taking selfies and so they were shown how one takes a snap using the front camera holding the phone using a selfie stick. However, when I approached the attendant, she said they are less motivated to learn new things because their salaries are low and feel that the management use them to make profits while they live from hand to mouth. The company can motivate employees by sharing in their goals and meeting their needs by constantly revising their salaries and promoting them after serving for a certain period. This way the employers feel as if they own the company and grow more innovative.
The company holds seminars semi-annually. After every six months, one hundred staff members go for a seminar. The seminars can be business performance oriented or information technology oriented. Learning takes the form of discussions, team working and lecturing. They interact with people from different parts of the world. The receptionist said that the seminars last for at least five days. Those who attend the seminars are required by the managers to have some time over the weekend to share the insights and knowledge gathered in the seminar with the other staff members. However, she said that the criteria used in selecting employees to attend the seminar are very poor because only the interested members attend and there are times when some departments are not represented in the seminars. In addition, there is an established culture or policy that governs how employees communicate or share information. Some employees are too close to managers than others, and there is no trust among employees hence some employees do not get the information of what was taught in the seminars. The departmental managers should ensure that at least one person in their department attends the seminar. In addition, notes covering what was covered in the seminars should be pinned on the staff notice board or printed, and each staff gave a copy to be more efficient. THIS IS A SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
The company has business-related books that staff members can read to improve their skills. These books are always available and relevant to their operations. There is also information technology related books that they can refer to when handling digital electronics. Therefore, employees can acquire knowledge while still working for the company. The receptionist said that the general manager advice employees to read at least one book a month. She asserted that two years ago she had read a book on accounts and learned an easier way of preparing a balance sheet. Since then she has always had an easy time preparing balance sheets and business journals. However, she said that they are only allowed to read while at home to avoid distractions. I also noted that some books are too old and outdated. Workers should be allowed to read books during their free time while still at work. The books in the library should also be updated to be more modern and relevant to the employee’s area of specialization.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Teresa M and Michael Pratt (2016), state that a company should frequently present employees with problems and encourage them to find a solution. With time, employees learn to own the company and become more innovative. The Fortress Company should adopt this strategy. The Fortress company, Hong Kong leaders should “ move people with an inspiring vision rather than giving orders” ( Sloane, 2017 p.2) When employees are aware of company’s goals and objectives they are forced to come up with ideas on how they can achieve the set goals within the set timeframe which makes them innovative.
According to Naranjo (2016), for a company to have creative and innovative employees, it should ensure that it has a culture where employees have the freedom to take risks and share ideas. The Fortress Company should create an environment where employees are encouraged to take risks and try new things in their area of specialization. In organizational knowledge, a company should create an enabling environment where there is trust among employees and information is limited. It should have set rules that govern employees and encourage them to be innovative (Hajir 2015 p.316)
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Gopalakrishnan, M Libby, T., Samuels J.A. and Swenson, D., 2015. The effects of cost goal specificity and new product development process on cost reduction performance. Accounting organization and society, 42, pp 1-11
Hajir J, Obeidat B, Al-Dalahmeh M, Masa’deh R., 2015 The role of knowledge management infrastructure in enhancing innovation at mobile telecommunication companies in Jordan. European journal of social sciences, 50 (3), pp 313-330
Naranjo –Valencia, J.C., Jimenez-Jimenez, D., and Sanz-Valle, R., 2016. Studying the links between organizational culture, innovation, and performance in Spanish companies. 48 (1) pp 30-41
Sloane, P., 2017. The leader’s guide to lateral thinking skills: unlock the creativity and innovation in you and your team. Kogan page publishers.