CUES Podcast
CUES Podcast
Nov 11, 2019
CUES Podcast 83: How Leaders Can Foster Creativity—an Interview With Beta Mannix, Ph.D.
Play • 18 min

Creativity is a skill that can be taught, asserts Beta Mannix, Ph.D., in the latest episode of the CUES Podcast.

“There are techniques that we can use to teach people how to be more creative,” explains Mannix, Ann Whitney Olin professor of management at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and a lead faculty member for CEO Institute II. For example, teaching team members how to do “structured brainstorming” can help foster creativity.

Overall company culture also plays a role in team creativity, Mannix emphasizes. More specifically, to promote creativity, a company’s culture needs to embrace generating lots of possibilities rather than finding that one right answer.

In addition, supporting innovation supports creativity. In the episode, Mannix defines both creativity and innovation and explains the link between them. 

The simplest way to define creativity is as generating the idea itself, she says. “As an example, [think of] the first person who came up with the drive-up window or the ATM. That person was creative.” Innovation, she continues, the implementation of that creative idea.

“So, when people come up with new and creative ideas,” she continues, “it’s important to actually be willing to implement or experiment with them. We have to be willing to have both things happening—creativity and innovation at the same time.”

Not surprisingly, to foster creativity, it has to be recognized by team members as a priority in the organization. That means that as leaders, “we have to make time for it,” Mannix says in the show. “We have to reward it and recognize it.” 

The show also gets into:

  • Companies that do a good job of fostering creativity
  • The best model for creativity
  • The link between creativity and strategy
  • Other factors that support creativity, such as the physical environment
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