Getting It Right: When It Comes To Creativity And Innovation

“Give the wrong people a big challenge, and you’ll induce anxiety.  But give it to the right people, and you’ll induce joy.”  -Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg How Google Works

Especially in today’s world, it is vitally important that we are inducing opportunities to engage and build up the capacity for all our people to become and be more creative and innovative. However, as we work towards this end, we also have to understand that not all people are interested or comfortable in becoming more creative and or innovative. Some just want to do what they do well, and others just want to get it done. Engaging change and doing different is not always on everybody’s radar.

Which is why being creative leader in today’s world requires the awareness to recognize who the incrementals and who the moonshooters are…

As well as understanding how that label changes from project to project.

Too often that determination is based on a hierarchical, rather than a want, skill or ability-based process or structure. Creative leaders need to make sure they are giving the right work, to the right people, and for the right reasons. Otherwise, friction and frustration will be the result, minimizing output and momentum.

When leaders fail to recognize the wants, needs, talents, skills, and abilities of those they lead, they create discord across the organization. Even worse, they create anxiety and angst in those who feel ill-equipped and uncomfortable engaging in this work.

Which is why org chart structures will fail to engage creativity and innovation at scale in any organization.

Please don’t misunderstand what is being said, we all have creative and innovative capacities, but some more than others. And some have them right at the surface, while for others they lay buried deep within. Creative leaders comprehend and appreciate that some feel comfortable exploring those capacities, while recognizing that for others, it will take more time and effort. It requires knowing who is ready and who needs more support. Knowing who can move fast out of the gates and who needs the time and space to move slow.

Not something that can ever be determined by a person’s title or position.

“Innovative people do not need to be told to do it, they need to be allowed to do it.”  In other words, innovation has to evolve organically.” -via How Google Works

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