The practice of creativity and innovation management should be closely linked. But too often they’re not. Too often, organizations create innovation management teams but they don’t empower them with the culture, freedom or confidence to engage in creative play, to experiment and fail. I recently spoke with a client who said his team was hampered by the proof they had to submit, before even engaging in new product ideation. As a life long hit songwriter and pianist I’m always aware that for every success I have, there will be many more ideas discarded. Companies need to keep that in mind too!
Create a Culture for Innovation Management
- Failure – Failure is a great thing. It means your team is trying new ideas. But you may have to convince upper management that failure is a great thing. It’s the job of your innovation team leaders to make sure the C-suite supports your day-to-day efforts. So your C-suite has to understand it’s not about immediate ROI. It’s about long term ROI.
- Start Wide – It’s okay, in fact it’s almost imperative, to start with daring, wacky or weird ideas when you’re trying to come up with new products or new initiatives. If you self-edit and narrow down the scope of your creative thinking too soon, you’ll never get to see really fresh bold ideas succeed. No idea is too absurd at the beginning of a brainstorming process.
- Communication – Whenever I’m struck by a new idea I think it’s awesome. In fact, almost every time I start writing a new song I imagine it will be the next big thing. That passion and excitement is part of the creative process. But let’s face it. Most of my songs, and most of your new ideas, won’t be the next big thing. So it’s important to share new ideas with your team members to get a reality check. I don’t mean this to limit new ideas. But once a concept is initially formed, it’s probably time to share it with colleagues. You can only do this successfully if your innovation management team members support each other genuinely. Critiques should always be given with care and in a positive way.