Once, when I was looking for information about how the world might look in 2050, I only found material describing things that are more or less predictable today. Air taxis, autonomous driving, virtual work… Nothing that goes beyond what we can imagine. I also came across a film from 1972. The makers of the film were visionaries who thought of tablets and virtual communication, high-speed trains, e-mobility and car-sharing almost 50 years ago – even before the Internet was invented.
Where are these visionaries today? Possibly in your company. People who think outside the box or even far outside the box are among us. These are the people who come up with solutions that their colleagues cannot understand. You should listen to these people and give them more freedom. Of course some companies already have Chief Creative Officers, Chief Innovation Gurus, Chief Pioneers. That’s a good start, because it gives free rein to thinking outside the box. But free thinking should not be limited to specific departments.
Everyone can have ground-breaking ideas if given the opportunity. I see this again and again in workshops: When you confront the participants with Design Thinking material, you are usually first met with rejection, then curiosity and then unimagined creativity. It’s not for nothing that companies that give their staff time and space for this have found that the best ideas emerge during such periods.
Especially now, when it comes to putting the German economy back on top, innovative ideas and shortcuts from familiar paths are important for success. Do you already give your employees the opportunity to contribute ideas and perhaps even implement them? Design Thinking workshops are one way of doing that, FabLabs are another. A Dutch client of mine describes this approach as “kurken” – kreativ uit de raam kijken – looking creatively out of the window. No matter what you call it and how you organize it – it’s important to give free rein to the inventive spirit.
How can you do that in your company? I would be happy to show you the possibilities!
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