I work with a lot of leaders and one of their most pressing questions is:
How do you build a more creative and innovative culture?
For many leaders in medium to large organisations this challenge is just too big.
They feel that transforming a culture is much like trying to steer an ocean liner — it takes too much time with very little difference.
But perhaps there is a way.
Small wins innovation provides a way forward
By concentrating on small wins any manager or leader can start to bring about cultural change — one day at a time.
Perhaps the one person that has done more research in this area is Harvard Professor, Teresa Amabile with her concept of The Progress Principle.
I quote from a recent article of hers,
Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.
And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.
Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress—even a small win can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.
I love the idea of this.
For creativity and innovation to really happens you need:
– to practice everyday
– feel that your work or goal is meaningful
– develop a positive cycle where you and your team are engaged, motivated and making some progress
– set yourself a goal against which you can measure your progress and
– celebrate your small wins.
Creativity and innovation for so long has been filled with stories of the big, disruptive new product or service.
What has been neglected has been the less sexy, celebration of the small wins — everyday.
In fact, I would argue that the bigger impact on culture and long term sustainability has been the attainment of small wins across the organisation.
The key message?
If you want to build a more creative and innovative culture then begin a strategy of small wins.
It can involve everyone, every day and every activity.