Creativity at work

Building a Culture of Innovation: How To Get Creativity Flowing At Work

James D. Ludema & Amber A. Johnson Article, Culture, Innovation

Creativity at work

We recently completed a six part series on creativity at work, in our column at Drawing from research, our experience, and interviews with experts, we identified seven tips for making the innovation magic happen at work. You’ll find those tips below, along with links to the original articles.

But first, we want to tell you about one of the most innovative processes we know, Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI is a positive, collaborative, future-focused process for leading change, setting strategy, and developing organizations and leaders. Basically, AI helps you think creatively about the challenges and opportunities you’re facing.

We have two upcoming AI workshops scheduled in November 2019 and February 2020. Follow the links to read more.

Now … on to those tips. (By the way, the article below was originally posted at

Seven Tips for Sparking Innovation & Creativity at Work

#1: Think of innovation as an equation: 

Product from Domain 1 + Product from Domain 2 = Totally New Product

#2: Get mindshare from people who have different areas of expertise, then build on similarities. 

Read more about both #1 and #2 in our first article, which you can find here.

#3: Align your culture to support creativity.

Your goals, work assignments, reward systems, and feedback processes have to be aligned to encourage creativity. You’ll need a collaborative environment, too. Find details in our second article, here.

If your goal is to maintain the status quo, then you don’t need creativity or innovation. But if you want to grow, you’ll have to risk a few failures. As others have said, failure is 99% of the work. Pick up tips on how to create the best kinds of failure at this link, our third article.

#5: Brainstorm better. 

Brainstorming is the most basic of creativity processes we use at work, but most of us could do it better. New research can help you get more out of your brainstorming process, as we explain in our fourth article.

#6: Step away from work to find new insights.

Taking a break from work can give you the free mental space you need to find creativity. Our interview with Adobe VP Mala Sharma reminded us of this; read more in our fifth article in the series.

#7: Share credit.

If we want to get our team members to contribute their best ideas, we have to be willing to share credit. Here’s one radical example from manufacturing from our final article.


Do you have your own tips for encouraging creativity and innovation at work? Share them with us on Twitter @ValuesDriven.


The insights for this series on creativity and innovation at work were drawn from the curriculum of Benedictine University’s executive doctoral program in values-driven leadership.

We focus on high-performing, values-driven companies & leaders. For fresh content on culture, values & leadership, see @ValuesDriven or our blog.


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