Although it may be a challenge, creativity--like any other skill--can be mastered.
Tom Kelley, a partner at design firm IDEO, writes in Harvard Business Review about how you can be a creative leader who in turn pushes employees to be more creative. Below, check out the three core principles he says will help you stay ahead of the pack.
1. Build creative communities
You should build what Kelley refers to as "core enthusiast communities" both within and outside of your company. One prime example he points out is Chris Anderson's hobbyist website DIYDrones.com. Anderson, who was the editor-in-chief of Wired before he co-founded the second-largest drone manufacturing company in the world, 3D Robotics, launched the site to be a home for do-it-yourselfers to upload videos of their drones flying, ask and answer questions, collaborate, and more.
A few months after launching, Anderson found a video from a young man from Mexico who made the first auto-piloted drone. The two teamed up to launch 3D Robotics, and today, DIYDrones.com acts as an unofficial talent pipeline for the company. "The free-flowing exchange, in which employees, partners, and collaborators gain social capital through their creative input, has helped propel growth," Kelley writes.
2. Continuous experimentation
In an office setting, the slightest change--new lighting, different chairs, a new email system--can cause a stir. But if you want to really shake things up, Kelley says, you should start with a small experiment. He cites the example of Steelcase, a manufacturer of office furniture, which tried a six-month experiment where a few managers ditched their offices for an open-office layout. Two decades later, no one at the company works in a private office. Kelley stresses that your experiment shouldn't rock the boat with big, sweeping changes--just shift your weight slightly and over time the innovation will take hold.
3. Start with a story
Every major successful campaign, whether it's a war, a presidential run, or a new product, starts with a great story to win people's hearts and minds. Companies and brands do the same thing--sell a narrative people can identify with. "The best creative leaders are now screening ideas from the very beginning for the potential to both delight customers and also tell an engaging story," Kelley says. Make this your focus to get your projects and objectives off the ground.