Culture of creativity

It’s the most important thing and the hardest thing to change. Ultimately, culture is at the core of everything as it’s the fundamental beliefs and behaviors that affect how people act. Without intentional efforts to evolve it, culture changes organically over time while specific initiatives to evolve culture require careful planning, coordination, experimentation, and execution that can’t be rushed.

Creativity can be a difficult and frustrating process for some and an effortless, fruitful experience for others. The divergent thinking of creativity requires, as Joy Paul Guilford defined it: fluency to quickly produce many possibly ideas, flexibility to simultaneously consider many ideas, originality to produce ideas that others have not thought of, and elaboration to add to or develop existing ideas. Very few people are strong at all these things and fewer excel at it in a collective so it must be explicitly taught and practiced.

A culture that enables creativity at scale is one in which every single person in an organization believes in their role in collective creativity, their ability to contribute to it, and continuously develops their creative chops. Doing this at scale requires strong collaboration, a true embrace of cognitive diversity in all its forms, fluency in exchanging and dialoging ideas, and an environment in which people have the time, support, and freedom to make mistakes where they can be both absorbed and leveraged.