Innovation in the workplace is an ongoing topic in every sector. How can supervisors help creativity flourish in their teams while supporting their teams through change? This McChrystal Group article, “Breaking Routine: How Leaders Can Unleash Creativity to Fuel Innovation”  says innovative, creative ideas strike hardest in the managers that bridge the strategic vision of leadership and the execution of that vision on the front lines.

Colette Weckenborg, Continuous Improvement and IT Administrator for the Department of Natural Resources, tells us about her takeaway from all this. “How many folks think of innovation as big ideas overlooking the small incremental changes – which are easier to implement, easier to gain team buy-in and easier to iterate off of (try, fail, try again – easier with smaller changes than large ones). Small changes can also have a snowball effect, building upon each other providing the team with big dividends over time. “

There may be those that are reluctant towards innovation into practice, and as supervisors we support our teams through times of change. So why do we see reluctance towards creativity?

  • Risk Aversion
  • Time constraints
  • Misunderstandings
  • Resisting change

Embracing creativity isn’t about throwing the usual working ways into the trash, it is about providing space to try new things. As supervisors, here are 8 ways to guide creative thought in your teams:

  1. Re-visit assumptions
  2. Establish the Ultimate Aim
  3. Brainstorm freely
  4. Synergize ideas
  5. Prevent overthinking
  6. Identify potential hurdles
  7. Strategize solutions
  8. Action and Commitment

Colette gives us the bottom line. “Take time away from the work to brainstorm with your teams how to improve the work (it is hard to think of better ways to do things when we are too busy doing the actual tasks/work).”

Our challenge to you: start with just one hour, distraction free, and see how you can promote creative innovative thought in your team.


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