7 proven secrets for opening spaces for innovation

"If you want innovation to happen, open spaces where being wrong is not a crime." 

Innovation is not simple, but there are some proven ways in which you can open spaces where being wrong is not a crime, creativity and opportunity can thrive, and where innovation happens as a result. Today I’m sharing with you seven proven secrets that can help you create such spaces.

1. Encourage trust instead of fear

Innovation can thrive only in an open environment where mistakes are not punished. You need to trust your people will want to come up with their best ideas. You need to provide the space, opportunity, and time conductive to creative exploration. That’s how Google, Apple, and other creative companies are able to keep at the front of their competitors. That’s the only way in which the mind can be free to follow hunches and try the “impossible.”

2. Embrace Diversity

You need to cross disciplines, and cross departments, to create a more holistic approach. Create spaces where diversity of thought is possible, where the sum of everybody’s thinking is greater that closed boundaries giving voice to only the few. You can then find innovative answers to the difficult questions facing the organization.

3. Think transformation, not incremental change

The complex changes facing businesses today requires the emergence of something different. It’s not business as usual anymore. But transformation is not so easily controlled or predictable. Nor can it be created at the top and implemented top-down following an orderly plan.

Transformation can be messy, chaotic even. Yet, if you choose to create the space for inclusive creative interactions among diverse people from all parts of the organization, unexpected and valuable breakthroughs will emerge.

4. Embrace the unknown with creativity

Chaos can encourage the emergence of something new. Not knowing is an excellent opportunity for creative thinking and learning. Ask questions in addition to stating answers. Let learning emerge as you take imperfect action. Let people try ideas, even when they seem “crazy.” Encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship inside the organization.

5. Follow the energy

When an idea generates enthusiastic interaction, follow that creative energy even if at the beginning it doesn’t seem “relevant.” Use your whole brain. Let Intuition guide you in addition to making rational plans. Play with ideas and "bizarre" thinking. Don't interrupt the flow of energy by trying to "keep to the agenda."

6. Choose possibility

Don’t focus on what’s broken, but on what can emerge. Attend to dreams and aspirations, not just to goals and objectives. That way people can forget the fear of making mistakes and can follow their hunches for finding new solutions.

7. Look at the bigger picture

Recognize patterns. Make sense. Find and create meaning together. Those who are able to see the patterns that are emerging from the clustering of ideas and events will be those who can pull transformational futures into the present. The more complex our world, the bigger our canvas becomes on which to paint an unlimited amount of transformational and aspirational ideas.

Remember. . .

Today's leader needs to develop a positive relationship with a world of volatile change. You can intentionally seize the unlimited opportunities that are just waiting to emerge from the present environment of increased complexity. We need leaders who know how to leverage complexity rather than kill it. You can design open spaces where it's safe to explore the unlimited possibilities available to create innovative futures and solve long-standing big problems.

Go to our FaceBook page: TransformativeConversations, like it so it will be easy to find, and check on it each day. I publish short tips for leadership there and this week tips will be related to opening spaces for innovation.