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Want creativity? Make room.

If you want to encourage creative thinking in your group, the most important thing you can do is make room for it. In this video Craig explains four specific ways to “make room”.

This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.

Here’s what Craig says in the video:

Hi everybody. It’s Craig Freshley here. I heard a schoolteacher explain that her most important job in her classroom of kindergarteners is to make room. Boys playing in the sandbox – she helps them make room for the new kid. Girls playing at the crafts table – she helps them make room for new ideas and encourages them not to be limited by the ideas that they already have or the materials already on the table. She’s trying to foster creativity. And in doing that her most important job is to make room.

If you are a leader trying to foster creativity or innovation — no matter what setting you’re in, be it a nonprofit or government or a corporation — you too can make room.

Four ways that you might do that:

First of all, make room for new people. Welcome the newcomer just as much as the veteran. Run your meetings so that the women have just as much opportunity to contribute as the men; so that the new people have just as much opportunity to contribute as the veterans. Create an ethic that all people are valued and that their contributions are welcome.

Number two: make room for new ideas. Encourage your people to learn new things, see new ways of doing things and bring those new things to the table. Doesn’t matter who had the idea originally. We let go of taking credit for ideas. We foster an ethic of everyone just putting ideas on the table, giving them to the group and building on them, making room for new ideas and building on those ideas all the time.

Third thing: help your group be efficient. Make room for creative processes by condensing all the other processes. Structure your meetings in really thoughtful and deliberate ways. Manage your time and the time of your people in really thoughtful ways so that that other stuff is contained in a box, making maximum room for the creative stuff. Or even — that other stuff? Push it off the table; completely get it out of the way; make room for creative and innovative thinking.

A fourth thing has to do with attitude, ethic, culture. Lead with a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. Tell your people, “It’ll be okay. We’ll get this done. We have right here among us the talents and the resources to do the job. We can do this, people!” Rather than, “That’ll never work”; “We don’t have enough time or money to do that idea,” those sorts of things.

Look, if you want to have an exclusive club of top leaders motivated primarily by their own ego and pride, then shut the door to new people, to new ideas, to creative thinking. But if you want creativity and innovation that is best for your group and even for society as a whole, make room.

Thanks for listening everybody and I hope you help your group make good decisions.

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