I came across the above image a few weeks ago. Every time I see it I think “that mind looks like it’s releasing chaos”. We are all wired differently: some of us require structured ways of being, while others thrive on the oceans of chaos. We tend to believe that creatives are on the chaotic side of the spectrum (we love the idea of an artist passionately letting the brush flash back and forth at the speed of light as they unleash the next great masterpiece!).
Yet, the opposite is often more true: creatives tend towards planning for innovation, and executing plans for increased probability of success. I recall the notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci: the intricate detail of flying machines transported from his imagination to his sketchbook; the numerous sketches of his famous works as he worked on shades of light and angles of composition.
For organisations to be innovative there also needs to be structure in the innovation pipeline. So what does that structure need? It needs many things, but here’s just a few essential ingredients:
A Blank Canvas: Culture
The culture of the organisation needs to be ‘ready’ for innovation. Culture is set through the formation of defines vision (purpose) and values (guiding principles that bring us together around our purpose). Vision of the future requires innovation to get there.
The culture needs to actively promote innovation at every level of the organisation. Did you know that the idea of the common matchbox came from a factory worker? Does this surprise you? Organisations need to promote the coming forth of ideas from everyone – who knows where the next innovative solution will come from.
The culture needs to foster a spirit of gratitude: if staff have ideas that work – give them the credit for it! This fosters a culture of trust and commitment rather than distrust and resentment.
Leadership drives the creation of a masterpiece. They pull everyone around the vision and supporting values. They craft and create the culture. They inspire; motivate and encourage. They create a sense of urgency and pull teams together to drive positive change.
Leaders also have an essential role in modelling the behaviours they desire from staff. Simon Sinek is correct with his book title Leaders Eat Last. They model drive, commitment, values, behaviours, integrity, character, etc.
Creative Process: Structure
Innovative and creative processes require a structure to work within. This ensures projects yield results and that projects are completed. Whether that structure is a change management process or a Project Management framework, the structure ensures a higher probability of success.
Creativity does not need to be messy: it can be a well-oiled machine adding massive value and advantage to the organisation.