In any organization, there has to be a team or individual to whom others look for new ideas and direction. This role is separate from leadership, which is not necessarily creative. Rather, the idea people are those who replenish an organization’s energy. Whether in human resources, marketing or the executive suite, the innovators drive the company forward.
However, you must be able to distinguish between an environment and its people. The failure or death of ideas is not necessarily the fault of individuals – it may be the environment in which ideas are meant to be generated.
Ask yourself: How are your idea people working? Are they collaborating? Do they have a location to collect their thoughts? You want to make sure the workspace is conducive to creative minds, no matter how capricious they may be.
Managers need to look at the process of idea creation before any are pitched. Instead of hastily vetting ideas before they reach senior officials, develop strategies to bring executives into the environment. If they are able to witness or even contribute, expectations will be managed and blame can be spared.
Is your work environment conducive to creativity and innovation?