Establishing a Culture of Creativity with Teams

By Michelle James | Posted 3/15/08 | Updated 5/13/23

If you are leading or managing a work team tasked with "being creative" the following are a few practices you can use to establish a creative working culture and get the ball rolling:

  1. Try out and then modify; explore; test in reality. Act on gut feelings even if uncertain where it will lead. Start something, then use real-time feedback to create what's next.

  2. Anticipate natural resistance to new ideas as normal — the contraction found when anything new is about to emerge — and work through discomfort. Become aware of how it surfaces.

  3. Encourage exploration of ideas; expand on them; diverge and converge; use various creativity techniques for the whole brain. Allow the ideas time to generate other ideas.

  4. Commit time for regular, real-time imagination/innovation sessions. Clearly understand deadlines and projects, but leave room to maneuver within them.

  5. Allow time to be in uncertainty, and let the process incubate, before rushing to solutions. I call this time "emergence time" — when the parts have space to unexpectedly come together as evolved — and often expanded — outcomes.

  6. Look inward (at inspiration and intuition) as well as in the external environment for answers.

  7. Take risks and use mistakes. Avoid neither, and keep in mind a mistake is often a risk that did not pan out the way you hoped. See it as an invitation, letting it lead you to other ideas.

  8. Use the "Yes and" way of co-creating. Learn from other's ideas; accept them; build on them.

©2008 Michelle James. All rights reserved.