Creativity and innovation doesn't
necessarily ignore the evidence base
of what’s worked before - but it
I’ve just been in Sydney for 3 days of levelling up with a bunch of people who hurt my brain. Really - they constantly challenge me to up my thinking, rethink my assumptions and unlearn and relearn a whole range of things.
And I find when I am with them inspiration for levelling up comes from the most random of places. We have brilliant speakers, mind bending thinking activities and time to reflect and discuss. But sometimes the most insight then happens in the bathroom……
A colleague and I walked up to the washbasins at the same time and laughed at our clumsy attempts to get the tap going. Have you noticed that lately? It’s like the tap industry held a convention of ‘let’s innovate the taps’ and went crazy. There are so many ways to get the water going these days. We used to 'turn the tap on'. Now we push the tap on, pull the tap on, make tai-chi movements under a sensor to get the tap to work. It’s easy to look like a total doofus in front of a very large mirror!
IDEO, the global design company has done quantitative research on projects with companies over a decade. They found that many people stop at three ideas when iterating and finding solutions to problems, yet those who go for at least 5 iterations or ideas are 50% more likely to launch successfully.
One of my amazing mentors, Kieran Flanagan, Chief Creative Officer for The Impossible Institute, says, as she delivers her keynote speeches to conferences full of people eager to be more innovative, ‘I’m not more creative than you - I just work harder.’ Keiran and her business partner Dan Gregory create a huge amount of ideas by themselves first around a concept or problem before they come to the table together on them. Then what they co-create together is quite often mind-blowing! (Check out their latest book: Forever Skills)
IDEOs findings show that the chances of a failed launch decreased by 16.67% when teams members felt comfortable to challenge the status quo. My own Buzz Diagnostic, which tracks collaborative learning cultures and has had over 4000 participants to date finds the statement: 'I feel confident to challenge our assumptions and beliefs’ sitting on the bottom of the rankings in terms of ‘very like us’ as a team. And yet Professor Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School’s research shows that to do this psychological safety is key to high performance.
What’s a tweak you want to lead in your organisation? Are you ready to level up the evidence base?