Collective Creativity in the Workplace [Video]

Creativity is not just for gifted people. From TEDxCambridge

The world has a plethora of awards to celebrate the creative achievements of individuals.

For instance, top scientists receive the Nobel Prize, topnotch writers take home the Pulitzer Prize while the best directors, screenwriters and actors vie for the Oscars.

Because of such events, people think that creativity is a gift reserved only for the chosen few. Is it? I don’t think so.

There have been a lot of interest in collective creativity these past few years and studies have shown that creativity is not just for gifted people – creativity is collective.

What is Collective Creativity?

This new paradigm was first introduced by the Peter Senge in the early 90’s. According to him, collective creativity is

“The idea of a learning organization where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.” 

The fact the creativity is collective brings us to our next question:

How Can I Unleash Creativity in the Workplace?

There are a couple of ways that you can try to foster creativity in the workplace. Let me give you some below:

1. Reward Creativity

One of the best ways to encourage creativity in the workplace is to reward creativity.

Aside from this extrinsic factor, suggestions given by the creative individual have to be taken seriously so he or she will not think that it’s just a waste of time.

2. Put Them in Teams

Collective creativity is well realized if you organize your employees into “innovation teams”.

These teams will be asked to come up with creative ideas on how to tackle a certain project or problem.

Make sure to set deadlines. And of course, don’t forget to reward them if the output is excellent.

3. Value Creativity

Employees are willing to unleash the creative animals inside them if they know and feel that the company supports and values creativity.

For collective creativity to work, you must start at the top. The management have to express their receptiveness to new “out of the box ideas” — in short, being less judgmental and more open-minded to employee suggestions.

collective genius Collective Creativity in the Workplace [Video]

Fostering a creative culture in a company takes time. As a bonus, here’s 17-minute video of Linda Hill, a Harvard professor who co-authored the book “Collective Genius”, when she talked about How to Manage for Collective Creativity at TEDx Cambridge.

“When many of us think about innovation, though, we think about an Einstein having an ‘Aha!’ moment.But we all know that’s a myth. Innovation is not about solo genius, it’s about collective genius. Let’s think for a minute about what it takes to make a Pixar movie: No solo genius, no flash of inspiration produces one of those movies. On the contrary, it takes about 250 people four to five years, to make one of those movies”


Written By

Norberts Erts

HR Degen and Product Marketing Manager at Sage. Former Co-founder of HR software company CakeHR (acquired by The Sage Group plc in 2019). Keep a sharp eye on HR, marketing, business, finance, science, technology, and the connections between them.