Invest in creativity and innovation training.
The mandate to innovate is meaningless if people don’t have the capabilities needed to do creative innovation work. It’s that simple.
The good news is: these capabilities can be fostered in the people you have – they aren’t the special talent simply of the creative outsiders you may rely upon.
Setting the right agenda
It’s time to move creativity and innovation training off the list of “soft skills” that are “nice to have” when budgets allow. Creative innovation work is essential to company survival. It can be taught. And now is the time to learn it.
Training in creative problem solving provides people with a conversational framework with common terms, steps, tools and techniques they can apply to engage with challenges and work through them. Our friend and associate Andy Wilkins describes the difference CPS training made to his team at a multinational IT group in the 1990s. Within a single year, the sole team trained was outperforming every other team in the unit…and every other unit, across the globe.
The magic phrase
If you’ve never experienced how powerful it is when people start using the magic phrase “How might we…”, we’ll clue you in. That one phrase signals that people are in an imaginative mode participating in generative conversations. This is something just as important as stage-gate. It’s the start of new ways to think about how to innovate, new ways to mash-up, to experiment, sketch, test and implement new ideas.
And, as this HBR blog post makes clear, it’s how the giant business successes of our age approach creativity.
The man credited with bringing “How might we….?” to the behemoths of Silicon Valley is Min Basadur. Min was a colleague of Gregg’s at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI). Min was also one of the inspirations behind the Manny character in Gregg’s business novel Jack’s Notebook.
Applying the tools and techniques that have evolved with CPS will make a tangible difference to how your team team tackles challenges and engages with innovation work. Doing so with KILN means you get the latest thinking on how to use CPS along with kinaesthetic, culturally relevant stimulus for whole-brain thinking. (We call it the KILN System – you can read up on it here.)
So invest now in creativity and innovation training. If you’re still in business, it’s never too late to learn.