Thanks to Harvard Business Review for hosting an event last night at 1 Alfred Place. It featured the intriguingly named Thomas Weddell Weddelsborg sharing an early preview of his book Innovation as Usual . He is challenging the notion that creativity and innovation comes about by brainstorming without boundaries. He suggests that innovation needs to be focused and directed – if your leaders are presented with 200+ ideas out of a ‘creative workshop’ session they are likely to be overwhelmed and do nothing about it. He suggest that it it is better to come up with fewer but more focused ideas – where guidelines and a good brief have been given.
Let me take the liberty of quoting from the summary on the Amazon website:
- Focus beats freedom: Direct people to look only for ideas that matter to the business
- Insight comes from the outside: Urge people to connect to new worlds
- First ideas are flawed: Challenge people to tweak and reframe their initial ideas
- Most ideas are bad ideas: Guide people to select the best ideas and discard the rest
- Stealthstorming rules: Help people navigate the politics of innovation
- Creativity is a choice: Motivate everyone to persist in the five keystone behaviors
During the session last night we broke into small groups to discuss what stifles innovation personally, and I thought I would share what our group came up with.
- A feeling of safety and security with the familiar
- Who can I bill for the time to be creative?
- Bosses suppressing ideas because they feel threatened by ‘subordinates’.
- Not worth it as someone else will get the credit
- Not enough time
Some research we commissioned at Herman Miller concluded that whilst we are all creative to varying degrees, we get our ideas and conclusions in very different ways. As ever, culture and place both have roles to play in creativity and innovation. You can download the seminar summary here for further reading
Not too sure if anything above is “innovative” but hopefully it will provide food for thought or even material for debate