I read a great post on Copyblogger, “Do you recognize these 10 mental blocks to creative thinking?“, about creativity and innovation. The author’s ten mental blocks to creative thinking should be posted in every office and conference room to remind everyone that ideas drive business forward.
Creativity is everyone’s job. But, creativity and innovation don’t happen just because you want them to. They require a company culture that encourages creativity and innovation and it’s your responsibility to foster an environment like this, an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish.
I won’t reiterate the standard list of things you should do to create and sustain a winning culture. There are many places to discover how to encourage a positive company culture. Instead, I will highlight what has been, based on observation and experience, the one thing I believe is key to creating an environment like this:
When there is mutual respect, when all members of the team are accorded the same opportunity to be heard and have their contributions are considered equally, creativity and innovation will flourish.
This means all contributions, even the ones from the junior team members, will be listened to and considered. Even if they are “wrong,” take the time to explore what was behind the comment. In the incorrect there is often a germ of new truth. And when you take what’s said and bring it back to the problem, when you make the necessary corrections, new insights will be discovered.
- Build and nurture a creative environment by only allowing respectful behavior. When all ideas and contributions are respected some great thinking can be generated.
- Be open to ideas from all sources. The insight may be hidden. If it were obvious it wouldn’t be an insight.
- Make a point of calling on junior team members and acknowledging their contribution.
- Ban the phrase, “Yes, but…”