According to a recent Deloitte survey of Millennials (people born from 1982 onwards):
78% of them believe that innovation is key to business growth and
62% pinpointed creativity as the characteristic that will mark out future innovators.
Yet only 26% of them feel that business leaders are doing enough to encourage practices that foster innovation and, in particular, idea sharing.
With this in mind I was curious to explore the findings in a recent workshop I conducted with (mainly) a group of Millennials at a consumer goods company.
I asked them to tell me when they feel they are at their most creative.
Some of the answers they gave were:
– on holiday or on the weekend;
– at the beach;
– when they feel relaxed;
– just before they fall asleep
– first thing in the morning;
– when their mind is distracted by another activity – for example when they are at the gym
– going for a walk.
What was most interesting to me was that no one said that they felt creative at work.
This is an important insight – leaders want their team to be more creative and Millennials say that creativity is important, but they do not believe they can be creative at work.
I asked them a follow up question: What stops you being creative at work?
Some of the answers they gave to this question were:
– limited time;
– competing priorities;
– feel stressed and under pressure;
– constantly interrupted; not motivated or interested;
– or they don’t agree with the goal.
I am the first to admit this is not a scientific sample, but the following might shed some light on this wasted opportunity.
Leadership actions to harness the creativity of Millennials:
– Explain the importance of a particular goal. This builds greater transparency and trust.
– Even better create a cause they believe in and can follow.
– Agree the ‘what’ (the goals and objectives) but leave the ‘how’ to the team. This will build more engagement and allow some freedom of action.
– Constantly talk about the need for greater creativity and innovation.
– Set yourself up as a role model and demonstrate a greater openness and receptivity to new ideas.
– Encourage greater collaboration.
– Establish a millennial project team and give them real responsibility, a challenge, budget and time-frame and watch them go.
– Encourage them to Blitz problems.
In short, our young have amazing ideas and they see the world differently.
If I was a corporate leader, I would be desperate to hear the views of my younger team.
I am sure I would learn something from them just like they could learn from me.