Are you helping or hindering your team’s innovation?
by Annie French on 14/09/2012
Innovation in simple terms is creating something new. Sounds easy enough, right? But as humans, we will all remember a time when we needed to have that creative spark, but something was not quite right and we couldn’t achieve our goal.
A recent article by Professor Baba Shiv from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business prompted us to write this blog post on innovation and creativity. Shiv discussed the concept of understanding how our mind reacts when we need to be innovative.
When we are trying to be creative or innovative and our emotional balance is not quite right, we instinctively navigate towards comfort. We seek a safe place. If we are stressed out, or unable to even think without the fear of someone looking over your shoulder or criticising our work, the temptation is to retreat from a creative place and seek something more comfortable.
Apricot Consulting’s CEO Derek Linsell explains that a basic human instinct is to be naturally creative, some more than others, however there are restrictions to finding this creative space.
“Some systems we become part of, schools or communities, force the creativity out of us,” he said.
“Just look at a child’s drawing. That child can see a rocket ship and an astronaut – but to an adult it just looks like a bunch of lines. The child can see what they have drawn clearly because they feel safe and encouraged. They are only thinking creatively.”
For an organisation to be creative and innovative, it must encourage its employees to find this safe innovative space – a good leader’s job is to create this space for their team. Without some degree of safety, there will be no innovation.
“Organisations have to be creative in order to stay ahead and grow in themselves – simple. Provide safety and a sense of worth to your employees and you will be rewarded,” Linsell said.
The diagram below shows how our emotions are constantly fluctuating. We are always floating along somewhere along the axes of Boredom and Excitement; and Anxiety and Contentment.
Finding the “sweet spot” is difficult, but understanding how you get there is critical. The truly great innovative minds can stay within close reach of this “sweet spot” and the truly great leaders help their team find their sweet spot.
So are your helping or hindering your team be innovative?
Apricot Consulting can help organisations understand the environment they are operating within and identify ways they can stand out from their competitors. We use a range of techniques such as innovation labs to help build innovative cultures and let the creative process email@example.com