It’s no shocker to say that creativity plays a key role in innovating a product or service. But how can you set the stage for creativity to flourish in a company? I’m not talking about foosball tables, a fridge full of Red Bull and X-Box stations, I’m talking about the intangible – company culture.
As the leader of a product design and engineering company, I see creativity happen every day. Our raison d’etre is essentially to create – to create solutions, to create products, to create methods, and so on.
Earlier last summer we embarked upon re-engineering our company core values to make them more useful and easily deployable in our everyday work life (ya that’s right – we actually use them). At the end of that process, one of our most important core values turned out to be openness. The supporting statements we came up with that articulates openness were:
- we listen with an open mind and have the courage to change our position
- we openly share the truth in order to help each other become better at what we do
For many years we’ve been living these values, it was just recently that we formally articulated them. Over the years we’ve found that open communication within our team and with clients was one of the major reasons we were able to create such outstanding innovative products and customer experiences. But what exactly is open communication? It is more than just being truthful, it is a proactive sharing of everything that is happening in our world in order to enlist the help of all stakeholders to make things better. At Inertia, we use these four tactics to openly share in order to stimulate creativity:
- daily 15 minute team huddles to share what’s up, re-align priorities and eliminate road-blocks
- weekly team meetings to share wins, challenges, failures and customer updates
- weekly customer project reports are created to share our progress, challenges, failures and successes (and are great for SR&ED back-up)
- customer check-in meetings to make sure all of the above has been properly communicated and absorbed
It’s always easy to share the good news. It takes character and confidence to be comfortable sharing challenges and failures. Let’s face it, innovation cannot happen without failure so we need to be ready to talk about it. Better yet, get your entire team and customers involved through open communication and collaboration and you will find that you can take creativity to a whole new level.