By Leo Boudreau

Leo Boudreau

Research has shown that people are 5 times more committed to ideas if they had some role in developing them (as opposed to ideas that are forced upon them).  In our experience, a big part of the challenge of new ideas is dealing with this “not invented here” syndrome.

To have any chance of successful implementation, you need people to be committed to the ideas they are taking forward.  They have to believe the idea has a sufficient level of feasibility for them to actually try to do something with it, and this is best done when they have played a role inventing it themselves.

Building Your Creative Team – Everybody can be Creative. Contrary to a popular trend in today’s thinking, our over 50 years of experience tells us you don’t need to find your company’s 7 best thinkers, or your 8 most creative people to successfully develop new ideas.  Ideally, what you need is a good cross-section of people, a diversity of functional skills, backgrounds and personalities, which allows the group to build on each other’s ideas and expertise, and to harness the power that comes with including naïves resources.  If you’re working on a marketing problem, consider involving an engineer or administrative support person.  They are going to ask questions that experienced people would never ask. When they ask those questions, they’re going to force the people with the content expertise to really consider why that’s not possible – further opening up the way of thinking.

We believe that everybody is born creative, but that ability is educated and socialized out of them – We observe people being punished for being “wrong” and this has the effect that you don’t want be a risk taker or overly speculative, so you become a more cautious person – especially in high-risk situations.  The key to creating an innovative organization is overcoming this reality to create a climate where people are going to take chances and be comfortable with speculative thinking and ambiguity.

Have the Creative Team Facilitated:  If a team’s creative potential is to maximized, someone has to facilitate the session.  One of the key roles of a facilitator is to make sure everybody feels safe in the meeting and to create a climate where people feel safe to contribute; people feel safe being open-minded.  A good facilitator doesn’t allow people to shoot down or judge ideas.  The facilitator gives the team the opportunity to open up, to make and break connections, to speculate, increasing the probability that they’ll come up with very different ideas.

From our perspective, the facilitator does not need to be content expert.  When working with a bank, a facilitator does not need understand the intricacies of the banking industry.  You don’t need the facilitator to understand loan portfolios, derivatives, private banking or any of that, the creative team brings that expertise.  When working with a fast food restaurant, you don’t have to know how that business is run, the creative team brings that expertise.  The facilitator is the expert on the process that the creative team will be guided through to breakthrough innovation.

Build a Culture of Ingenuity for Innovation:  Historically, in a lot of organizations, innovation has been a calendar event: “Next Tuesday and Wednesday we’re going to have an innovation session and come up with 100 ideas.”  Then we will go back to our regular jobs.  The pace of change and the demands it puts on us all, means that every day is becoming “Innovation Day”.  The ideal solution is to create a long-lasting culture of ingenuity that leads to innovation.  People need a common language and methodology to use around innovation, to make meetings productive, and a good use of everyone’s valuable time.

Transforming an organization and the individuals within it, requires a long term commitment.  With over fifty years of experience helping leaders create a new culture which allows them to release the ingenuity of their team and develop breakthrough solutions to their most complex challenges, Synecticsworld is uniquely positioned to help your company revolutionize the way people think, work and live.

(For advice on facilitating creative meetings see How to be a Better Meeting Chairman)


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