How to Encourage Creative Leaders

Today, we need creative leaders. In the olden days, people worry about how to divide the economic pie among themselves.

People discovered that they don’t have to wage war against each other over a single pie.

Thanks to innovation. We can bake more pies. We can multiply our pies a thousandfold, a million-fold — and our imagination is our only limit.

Leaders who create and innovate ensure the growth of organizations.

This is, of course, easier said than done.

Even leaders who speak of innovation aren’t necessarily creative.

One example is a manager I know. I heard that she delivered a 30-minute lecture on Design Thinking.

She told her direct reports to submit their proposed technological innovation.

I’ve been applying Designing Thinking and have trained many leaders in using the tools of DS. It was evident to me that she did not understand what DS is.

But I appreciate the fact it looks like she’s onto something worthwhile.

I was wrong.

She told her direct reports to submit the project plans (including the budget) the next day. She decided that professionals can make proposals based on what they already know. They have not taken the time to listen to customers.

She did not want to follow the process of innovation she has given during her 30-minute lecture. Worst, she has no plan to install any aside from her project. She was proud to show that she knows something about innovation. But that’s all to it.

This is a common problem among leaders who rely on their expertise.

Once they start to believe that they are experts, they begin to lose their sense of wonder. They forget how to judge what’s creative.

They believe that because they ” had been there and I’ve done that”, they already know the answers.

They think that opinions are answers to old unsolved problems.

They are not open to suggestions of others, most especially of young employees.

If you are a business owner, I encourage you to grow creative leaders and grow an army of intrapreneurs.

If you are a manager or supervisor, I want you to know that you can cultivate your creative confidence.

You can now google innovation and there will be thousands of tools you can get for free. You can also join online courses for less than 3000 pesos.

Or you can get someone like me to design and deliver innovation workshops for you.

No one can make an excuse of “being in a third world ” because we have access to information.

We have models too. Innovators like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Tony Hsieh, and Larry Page have changed the world. Every day, I learn about young innovators who introduce new categories of products and services. They create new rules and we follow them.

How many of us imagined this world before the Internet era? Or the world before there was television? Or the world before there was radio?

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