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Live from FEI 2013: Innovation and the Art of Letting Go

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Featuring Michael Hendrix and Colin Raney, IDEO

People + Culture

"If creativity is gardening, creative leadership is about selecting and nurturing gardeners to work alongside you."

At IDEO, in the beginning, there was an empty space off to the side. Then, something interesting started. Employees grabbed furniture from other parts of the company, they started decorating, a film series took hold, then "Crimson Berry," and "Stack Cutter" were introduced (i.e. stapler and paper cutter).

Some time later, a group called and asked to see what an idea space looked like. More and more things were introduced into the space. Rather than just a social space, the formerly stark area became a makerspace.

The takeaway: Creativity is born out of culture and hiring "gardeners"

Framing Problems + Process
"Design creates new alternatives through exploration. As you create, you learn. As you learn, you create."

What IDEO lives by (asking small questions):

Rapid Development
Barriers to Launch
Learning through Metrics
No centralized control

The takeaway: empowering others and allowing them to ask small questions leads to big ideas.

Creative Flow
"We create the future by lying about it first"

IDEO strategies to create fluency and flow include: 1) Thinking about creativity as an immersion - Creativity is high maintenance and it can't be lured out by donuts on Friday 2) Bringing "naive" folks in to explore the problem, and allowing them to imagine...and to get into the creative role (i.e. doodle, make songs, create rituals). This helps with flow 3) Making creativity a daily habit - incorporate rituals to build creativity into the day to day.

The takeaway: give people the space and tools to unleash creativity.

"Do it in public"

Like Clover, create a public prototype. They setup a food truck and let the public know it was a prototype. This allowed Clover to design their product with their customers.

The takeaway: prototype, prototype, prototype (while solving problems with your customers, your employees, your core audience).

Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

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