Encouraging Creativity

After the last post on Catalyzing Creativity, Curtis Faith asked me to answer the question on Quora – How do you incentivize creativity. Here is how I answered.

1. Disney creative strategies –

  • phase 1: wild brainstorming (divergent thinking)- this is the phase to make room for lots and lots of ideas without criticizing or considering plausibility of any of them – just generate, which needs to be distinct from phase 2
  • phase 2: editor (convergent thinking and refining) move through options and sort for most interesting, see if they are plausible…whatever criteria you establish for a good outcome.
  • phase 3: critic – rip to shreds. consider minimum viable product, test for market interest, be rigorous. To that, I would add a social gathering phase after the critic period, so there can be shared appreciation for the ideas generated, refinement, and polishing. Close the process with good team morale.

2. Don’t incentivize with money (Pink on Drive)

3. See conditions I listed on Catalyzing Creativity.
4. Celebrate mistakes and failure. Congratulate people on trying. Ask for what wisdom was learned.
5. Generate interesting questions and ask for help generating more questions.
6. Have leaders and influencers model creativity.
7. Consider how you can apply Cialdini’s 6 key principles of persuasion.
8. Acknowledge play-masters. I don’t mean play ping pong. I mean play with the real things there. Thank people for

9. Go to making and play and prototype soon and often.


10. Rule #6 (Art of Possibility) – Don’t take yourself so god damn seriously. Do something to get perspective on risk – think about how lucky you are not to be x. Encourage lightness of being.

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