When I was a 16 year old, I finally decided that I wanted to be a rock star.
My days of flailing at an air guitar were behind me - it was time for me to grab an electric and an amp, turn it up to 11 - and start wow-ing the masses with my musical prowess. As you can imagine, I quickly discovered that my skills were not as good as my dreams, and I needed to begin the process of practice. As playing the guitar seemed like quite a creative pursuit, I decided to just pick it up when I was feeling inspired - rather than having a planned practice schedule. My inspiration would strike about once a week, leading to a sixty minute session of loud, discordant chaos.
After a few months of this, I realised that my guitar skills were not getting any better. Dejected, I was trawling the Internet for inspiration, when I discovered a piece of advice that changed my approach to guitar, and has allowed me to become a passable guitarist today.
It was simple - play the guitar for ten minutes a day. Ten minutes a day, is better than seventy minutes once a week.
Taking this new approach, I began to see incremental improvements happening each week, which resulted in radical gains from a monthly perspective. The simple act of repetition transformed my musical ability.
This is not rocket science, but it is amazing how often this fundamental rule of "Small and Often", is replaced by the supposed magic bullet of "Big and Occasional."
This is very true of innovation within organisations - with many leaders starting innovation programs with much excitement and fanfare, only to see their efforts gradually fade away, resulting in no change and a disillusioned team.
Innovation Consultant Charles Prather has highlighted this very lack, stating that one of the key actions of an innovative team leader is their ability to hold regular, repetitive events. These do not need to be big - but they do need to be constant, as this will reinforce the value of creativity within your organisation and will also play a role in transforming the creative environment.
Workshop training is available to help educate you in creating constant creativity, but a few easy approaches could include:
- Teaching a new creativity technique to your team on a weekly basis.
- Providing a regular forum to discuss new innovative ideas with your product or service.
- Scheduling a quarterly Innovation Morning, with creative brainstorming and idea gathering techniques.
- Distributing creative case studies amongst your team, and encouraging their involvement with them.
These ideas don't need to break the bank, and can make a measurable improvement to the innovative output of your organisation.
What small and regular changes could you introduce to your organisation?