Killing office creativity

10 tips for more creativity and curiosity in everyday work

People are innovative by nature. If we weren't, we would still kill our side meat for dinner with arrowheads today. Innovation needs creativity and curiosity as a basic motivation. The question is how can these “natural resources”, which are deeply anchored in people, be activated in everyday work? Here are 10 tips for businesses and executives.

  1. The vision, intention and purpose must be clearly defined, otherwise no concrete problems can be developed. These are necessary in order to develop new, innovative solutions (using creative techniques).
  2. Transparent and open communicationbecause it is the only way to ensure that clear expectations can be clearly conveyed even on difficult topics. Also address any discrepancies directly. People have to feel seen and heard so that a “we-feeling” can arise, which is indispensable for creative processes.
  3. A fear-free togetherness, because fear causes stress - and stress kills creativity and inhibits curiosity.
  4. Perseverance and the associated time. We are not curious and creative at the same level every day. And: ideas take time and have to go through the process of iteration - over and over again.
  5. Collaboration and cooperation instead of confrontation and competition. Create an environment of trust and mutual respect. Everyone in the team is involved - there are no outsiders. Successes and failures are team results. The motto of the Three Musketeers applies: "One for all, all for one!"
  6. Take risks and celebrate mistakes. Make a mutual agreement to be a learning organization that always tries to screw up the innovation and learning curves.
  7. Stop gossip. Speak with one voice. This is the only way to treat each other with respect even in difficult situations. This is the only way to create mutual respect and trust. Political intrigues in the office create hierarchy hurdles that kill creative and innovation processes faster than they can see.
  8. Don't try to reinvent the wheel if it doesn't need to be reinvented. Before you subject the entire company to an innovative radical cure, consider the first point. Visions, intentions and goals must make it clear at which points innovative and creative processes are necessary - and in which areas “business-as-usual” still applies.
  9. Find a balance between academic mastery, creative thinking, and self and social intelligence. That is neither more nor less than the use of common sense - but in some circles and companies this is already radically new and innovative and really leads to surprisingly positive results in (creative) cooperation.
  10. Use and appreciate human diversity. Creativity and curiosity can bloom particularly splendidly when human diversity is valued - when men and women, senior and junior collaborate with each other and when different lives, attitudes to life, experiences and nationalities are viewed as valuable assets and not as obstructive differences.


These ten tips seem - I am well aware of that - like a matter of course. However, in the last 20 years I have not seen a company in which all ten points are implemented and lived.

By the way: A by-product of creating such a lively corporate culture is that companies become attractors for the talents who prioritize these ten points and place human-collaborative interaction above things like money, prestige and traditions. In times of beginning demographic change and the associated shortage of skilled workers, a competitive advantage that should not be underestimated ...