Creativity as a concept remains hard to pin down. Many view the ability to find creative solutions as the pinnacle of creative leadership. Artists, designers, visionaries and thought leaders are all admired for the power of their ideas, i.e. for their creativity. Creativity is a well-researched topic, covered in many popular science and business economics books. Yet we continue to struggle with the mystique created around the topic, and the intimidating notion that this is a territory reserved for the so-called “Creatives”.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated at work. In fact, studies have shown that employees are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work. For most employers, showing appreciation might mean promotions and pay raises, but those opportunities don’t come along as often as we’d like to think.
We are taught to think that all great minds think alike. While this may have worked during pre-twenty first century industrial times, this is no longer the case today. We need creative and diverse minds that can navigate through the chaos, uncertainty, and adventure of our present-day society —each individual contributing in their own unique way.
When Airbnb opened its first call center in December 2014, it was featured on headlines everywhere: finally, a call center that was not a hell to work at. “Picture a call center: rows and rows of gray cubicles, everyone donning headsets, sitting at their beige desks for hours on end […] Our landing spots work a little like cubbies for kindergarteners.” To create a happy, collaborative environment, Airbnb staffers were included in the design of the workplace, translating to shared desks, couches, and lots of use of natural materials and lightning —all fun and play.
Entrepreneur and investor Chinedu Echeruo urges aspiring entrepreneurs to not look for ideas, but to discover new ideas through activity and action. Rather than seeing creativity as an abstract concept, Echeruo argues that it be used as a tool to unleash value in the world.
“Come up with something new! And make it good.” Have you ever said that? More and more leaders nowadays make this demand. They need something new and creative, and they need it to be good. Mostly because their circumstances are changing radically and their organization hasn’t. Or maybe simply because that is the kind of market they are in. Come up with something and make it good!
The way we develop as children can greatly impact the way in which we conduct ourselves as adults. Our early experiences and discoveries have a significant influence on the growth of various personality traits, such as leadership, the ability to work as part of a team and communication, which can have a big impact on our professional lives.
The myth of the lonesome creative genius has long been debunked. More and more, it is becoming clear that creativity and innovation are the products of social interaction in many ways. People are inherently social beings: we learn by observing and taking in things that we see, hear, read and feel around us. Upon closer inspection, even groundbreaking innovations and outbursts of creativity publicly attributed to a single individual turn out to be the product of a long journey of contemplation, experience and above all, knowledge amassed as a result of interaction with the world.
Chefs who work in haute cuisine, Michelin-starred restaurants boast outstanding talent and craftsmanship. Is there a link between these restaurants and budding culinary innovation? There appears to be a link as all the chefs listed in the “Most Prominent Innovators” are in the kitchen of a starred restaurant. We extract some key lessons, stretching far beyond the kitchen, and investigate the role of any social environment on nurturing creativity and innovation.
Riffing is an exciting way to co-create and an essential aspect of creative leadership. In this article about co-creation we explore the main mental blockers and enablers to riffing, and nine surprising practical pointers to tap into this power.
Where do you start when you want something new? Whether the aim is just an improvement, a small incremental change or something more unique, disruptive and breakthrough, the start will probably determine where you end up. Do you start jotting down ideas? Do you grab a whiteboard and Post-Its, get a few people in the room, and start brainstorming?
Creative leadership is rich with paradoxes. Creative leaders are driven by their internal passion and purpose, yet they also have an externally oriented, explorative mindset. Creative leaders lead from the front by envisioning a better future, pointing the way and setting an aspiration, yet they achieve this by orchestrating a creative team, often leading from behind to bring out the best in others.
There are incredible opportunities today to bring new things into the world. It is the hallmark of the creative artist to create something that did not exist before, but this generative capacity is not limited to creative artists. Entrepreneurs and corporations conceive and create new products, services and platforms that would not have existed but for their efforts. Our increasingly complex and volatile world needs this creative ability now more than ever, especially in our leaders.
The terms creative leadership and innovation leadership are being used more and more. Creative qualities in leaders are nowadays greatly desired, say research surveys: Lack of creativity is seen as the most serious shortcoming in new hires reports the Economist’s Global Talent Index Report 2012 and creativity is seen as the most important leadership quality in a 2012 study of IBM under over 1,500 CEO’s. So, what is Creative Leadership and what is sparking this interest in it?
There are four different types of innovation tools that we’ll describe here, including the design of the work place itself, practices that encourage and even enable effective collaboration, open innovation approach to connect inside innovation teams with outside partners and experts, and online tools that constitute the virtual work place. Separately and especially together, these can make a tremendous enhancement in the performance and the satisfaction of individuals, teams, and your entire organization.