Creative Leadership
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Creative Leadership
I curate articles that help inspire leaders to cultivate organizational creativity & foster innovation. Learn more about my work at www.milesfinchinnovation.com
Curated by Tony Vengrove
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The Seven C’s of Creative Leadership Podcast Series | Idea Climatology

The Seven C’s of Creative Leadership Podcast Series | Idea Climatology | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
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Since 2012, when Miles Finch Innovation opened its doors, we’ve championed the development of creative leadership capabilities for our C-Suite clients. In our opinion, the lack of creative leadership skills represents the biggest leadership abyss in corporate America today. It’s why nearly every CEO who says she’s committed to innovation, also confesses she’s underwhelmed with the quality of ideas in the pipeline.

 

To fill this critical void, Miles Finch Innovation launched a podcast series called, The Seven C’s of Creative Leadership. We partnered with the amazing Todd Schnick of Intrepid Now to produce a nine-part series illustrating each competency of the Seven C’s framework:  communication, curiosity, creativity, connecting, culture, change management and courage. Our fabulous lineup of guests includes, Google's Ivy Ross, author Max Mckeown, Pernod Ricard's Tim Murphy, and more!

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4 Essential Innovation Skills That Anybody Can Master

4 Essential Innovation Skills That Anybody Can Master | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Innovation rewards combination. To come up with something truly new, you need to synthesize insights across domains. For example, when Dharmendra Modha was developing neuromorphic computing, he not only had to be an expert at chip design, but also to learn about neuroscience and network theory.

Still, great innovators are more than just dreamers. The random ideas they come across only become useful when applied to a specific problem. Often, they spend years or even decades working on something before they hit on that one missing piece to the puzzle. So it is that kind of tenacity, combined with the eagerness to probe new spaces that makes the difference.

That's why innovation needs exploration. Not all who wander are lost, but you have to wander with purpose.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Notice how all four skills are soft. 
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Six Principles for Innovation

Six Principles for Innovation | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
By Andrew R. McIlvaine Former Google CHRO Laszlo Bock shared six steps for fostering innovation during his opening keynote address at the 2017 HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Excellent list. For those that follow my writing, you won't be surprise that I agree 100% with #1. Although, I prefer to use vision instead of mission, but that is semantics.

What do you think about #6? Be lucky?
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You Aren't Courageous, You Just Don't Know What Courage Is

Recently I've heard a lot of talk about "courage" in business, in particularly in sales. It takes "courage" to cold call. It takes "courage" to ask for a referral. It takes "courage" to ask for the sale. Can we step back for a minute? None of these things takes courage.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Courage is the 7th C of our Creative Leadership framework. Here's a powerful read on what courage is and isn't.
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Learning How to Learn: Jack of All Trades, Master of Learning

Learning How to Learn: Jack of All Trades, Master of Learning | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
When it's time to learn a new subject, the first thing I ask myself is:
"How do I want to study?"
Tony Vengrove's insight:
I found this to be an exceptional read. Creative Leaders won't be effective long term if they take a "I know it all" attitude. Curiosity is one of our 7 C's of Creative Leadership for a reason:  to underscore the importance of constant exploration and learning. Exploring a diverse set of experiences and skills enhances a creative leaders ability to make novel connections and/or recognize potential in another's idea.
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Zipcar Doesn’t Just Ask Employees to Innovate — It Shows Them How

As mysterious as it can sound, creating a culture of innovation isn’t rocket science. The dynamics are simple: Employees have experiences that come from leaders’ conscious and unconscious decisions and behaviors. Those experiences shape assumptions about what behavior is desirable or undesirable. If you want to change your employees’ behavior, it’s easier to create new or different experiences to shift their assumptions than to directly assail the assumptions themselves.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
I'm a big proponent of creating deep experiential learning events to help infuse creative thinking into participants’ views of their own roles and their leadership methods. Management's role is to help curate and align these experiential events with strategic goals, which helps to ensure creativity is channeled effectively AND that it helps shape the future of the company and culture by demonstrating the values it wishes to see in all employees.
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4 Steps to Cultivating an Innovation Mindset in Your Organization

4 Steps to Cultivating an Innovation Mindset in Your Organization | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Contribute
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Is it me, or have these "4 Tips for Innovation" articles run their course? No offense to this author (it's not a bad piece of writing), articles such as these feel a bit simplistic for such a complex and difficult undertaking. 
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The 4 Most Important Leadership Qualities to Have in Business

The 4 Most Important Leadership Qualities to Have in Business | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Managing complexity and inspiring engagement are capabilities that are newer to the scene. The degree of complexity that today’s global, technologically driven organizations face was unknown a generation ago. More than ever, today’s leaders need the ability to view organizations and environments as complex, interconnected systems, and manage them as such. In complex systems, which are often seen in flatter organizations with highly interconnected parts, it’s much harder to predict outcomes.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
The increasing challenge of complexity for any business makes innovation and creative leadership much more challenging. Complexity drives demand for predictability, which is often hard to assess when working of the fuzzy front end of innovation.
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The Nine Principal Rules of Creative Leadership

The Nine Principal Rules of Creative Leadership | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
As a leader, you manage a team of people all of whom have creative potential. It is to you whether you want to stifle that creativity and focus on bureaucratic processes or harness that potential to drive innovation.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
This piece aligns with many of my beliefs and serves as a nice complement to The 7 C's of Creative Leadership.
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Creative Leadership: Humility and Being Wrong

Creative Leadership: Humility and Being Wrong | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Creative leaders must be more than big personalities if they hope to lead successful organizations. They must be deeply in tune with human behavior, and, most critically, understand who they are and what motivates them to success and what precipitates their failures.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
This article is four years old, but it highlights a critical creative leadership trait: humility. The best creative leaders I've worked with possess humility and realize they don't have all the best ideas. Rather, they empower others around them to be brilliant and inspire them to turn sparks of ideas into diamonds.

On the wall behind my desk, I have a beautiful metal sign that adorns the word, humble. As people sit across from my desk and converse with me, I know that sign is staring them in the face, which serves as my reminder to shut up and listen.
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7 Ways to Ask Questions like a Coach

7 Ways to Ask Questions like a Coach | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Leaders should be more coach-like. I’m probably not the first person who has penned those words in a blog post. My guess is that you’ve heard that advice before—possibly even tried being more coach-like with your team members and direct reports but ultimately realized that it takes a lot of time to do well. A…
Tony Vengrove's insight:
The art of asking questions is a search for the truth. Once you understand the real problem or the real consumer insight, quite often, the idea spigot opens full blast. As this post highlights, the questions in and of themselves are simple. Leaders need to mindful enough to ask them (and stop rushing in with all the answers!).
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7 People You Should Recruit to Your Innovation Team | Killer Innovations: Innovators Talking About Creativity, Design and Innovation

7 People You Should Recruit to Your Innovation Team | Killer Innovations: Innovators Talking About Creativity, Design and Innovation | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
When building an innovation team, taking special care that all of the official and unofficial roles are filled is key - not to mention teamwork.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
In my Seven C's of Creative Leadership framework, #4 is CONNECTING, which involves the creative leader continually curating the right people, skills and experiences around the table. Phil's "recruiting" post provides a nice way of thinking about the diversity you need to look for--whether it be for hiring or assigning project teams.
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What management brings to creativity and vice versa: a book review of Creativity Inc. | Aurelie Valtat

What management brings to creativity and vice versa: a book review of Creativity Inc. | Aurelie Valtat | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Catmull shares several metaphors about what creative leadership is and what it looks like. I really liked one of these metaphors. He mentions that many people compare leadership with driving a train (George Lucas did so when Catmull worked for him at LucasFilm). But driving the train doesn’t set its course, it’s setting the tracks that does. Managers and leaders are often too busy driving the train but haven’t put enough effort into setting the tracks in the right direction.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
If you haven't read Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc. yet, I highly recommend it. There's a lot of great innovation insight to reflect upon as well as important Creative Leadership lessons.

Here's a great example summarized nicely by Aurelie Valtat (author of attached book review):

"Catmull shares several metaphors about what creative leadership is and what it looks like. I really liked one of these metaphors. He mentions that many people compare leadership with driving a train (George Lucas did so when Catmull worked for him at LucasFilm). But driving the train doesn’t set its course, it’s setting the tracks that does. Managers and leaders are often too busy driving the train but haven’t put enough effort into setting the tracks in the right direction."
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How to Boost your own Innovation Capability

How to Boost your own Innovation Capability | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Make time for stimulus: Often we are so busy in the day-to-day of work that we fail to spend time exploring, reading and learning about new ideas and best practice. However, innovation can only happen at the intersection of ideas, so we need stimulus to help us think and see our business challenges differently. Carve out a regular time slot where you invest in looking outside of your normal world and into what we call the “parallel universe” of a different sector or organisation. Learn about how they have approached similar challenges or opportunities and let those creative juices flow. Though stimulus isn’t about copying. It’s about getting to the heart of the example – what is the principle you can learn here; what was trying to be achieved. Great innovators then take that principle and view their own challenge through the same lens to create a solution which works for their culture and their business.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Three simple suggestions: Be open to possibilities, Be curious, Make time for stimulus. The last is critical and getting harder and harder due to our limited schedules. But, that's still no excuse! Mark time on your calendar to get out of the office and explore.
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Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online

Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
"We can only connect the dots that we collect."
Tony Vengrove's insight:
There's lots of inspirational insight in this piece. In my 7 C's of Creative Leadership, I list curiosity before creativity for a distinct reason. Being curious invites observation, research, and a quest for the truth. When you fill your brain with these new inputs, you almost always invite new ideas.
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9 Common Questions About Innovation S13 Ep31

9 Common Questions About Innovation S13 Ep31 | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Over the years, I noticed that I seem to get a similar set of questions from the participants at my talks, workshops, and innovation boot camps. What this tells me is that there are a set of common questions about innovation that are on everyone's mind.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
On the subject of what you can and cannot control, I would add that you can (and must) control the objectives.
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How to Nourish Your Team’s Creativity

How to Nourish Your Team’s Creativity | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Manage these four tensions.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Nice piece that aligns with my philosophies. It references the tension I speak regularly about--the one between creativity and logic. Creative Leaders need to be prepared to navigate and resolve this tension, every day.
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10 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity Today

10 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity Today | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Many people struggle to come up with creative new ideas, unleash your creativity in business and in every area of your life.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Phil Mckinney provides a nice list here. Of course, the best place to start is making a commitment to avoid bad behaviors that mitigate creative thinking in the first place. More on that coming soon...
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Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate

Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Wrong. Steve Jobs procrastinated constantly, several of his collaborators have told me. Bill Clinton has been described as a “chronic procrastinator” who waits until the last minute to revise his speeches. Frank Lloyd Wright spent almost a year procrastinating on a commission, to the point that his patron drove out and insisted that he produce a drawing on the spot. It became Fallingwater, his masterpiece. Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter behind “Steve Jobs” and “The West Wing,” is known to put off writing until the last minute. When Katie Couric asked him about it, he replied, “You call it procrastination, I call it thinking.”
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Time is a critical constraint for managing #CreativeLeadership. Sometimes you need to give teams ample time, sometimes you need to compress the timeline to ignite a sense of urgency. The challenge is, especially with the latter, if you make everything a creative sprint, you'll wear everyone down and kill employee engagement. 

I procrastinate quite often, but with a caveat: even though I may not be putting pen to paper, it doesn't mean I'm not thinking about my project. I find the infrequent and sometimes random "thinking time" is very beneficial. In fact, when I eventually sit down at the computer, all of my pre-thinking informs what I put on paper and allows me to be productive--even if it's at the eleventh hour.
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Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline

Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a teachable skill.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Good article, but remember...don't get trapped in feeling you need to be taught HOW to be creative. We're born creative. It's more important to unlearn the behaviors that inhibit our creativity. AND, to learn how to lead so that others are empowered to be creative.
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5 Traits Of Creative Leaders (And How To Become One)

5 Traits Of Creative Leaders (And How To Become One) | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Most of us have problems balancing logic with intuition. But the truth is that those faculties aren't opposed to one another. In fact, you need to figure out how to get them working together if you're to become a truly creative leader. Intellect without intuition makes for a smart person without impact. Intuition without intellect makes a spontaneous person without direction.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
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The Single Most Obvious Leadership Trap

The Single Most Obvious Leadership Trap | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
The truth is the vast majority of managers admit that they often do FOR an employee simply because they don't have time to teach or coach or mentor. The challenge is that doing for someone may seem like a good, time-saving idea at the time, but the short-term benefits are far outweighed by the long-term damage to both the employee and the workplace culture.

Worse, the quickest way to stifle learning and creativity on your team is to solve every problem, take control of every project, and make every decision.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
As a creative leader, it's often tempting to solve problems quickly or offer up creative solutions before your team has had a fair crack at them. As Kelly Riggs notes in this article, it is far more beneficial to mentor and train employees to solve their own problems and find creative solutions. It may seem more productive to jump and help with the ideas, but the long term ROI of a confident creative thinking team will always win hands down.
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Six ways to flip the script when you become a manager

Six ways to flip the script when you become a manager | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Newly promoted supervisors are often ill prepared for management
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Helpful insights in this article as they pertains to creative leadership. Similar to newly promoted supervisors being ill prepared for management, innovation leaders often experience the same difficulty. Many are thrown into the creative endeavor of innovation having been trained to value logic and analytical mindsets. While these are important critical thinking skills, they alone aren't enough to foster creativity and manage the creative process. It takes both creative leadership and analytical prowess to keep ideas alive long enough to determine their true utility. 
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"You’re no longer the genius — you’re the idiot", Ian Tait - Creative Review

"You’re no longer the genius — you’re the idiot", Ian Tait - Creative Review | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
Wieden + Kennedy London ECD Iain Tait on how the agency is changing its creative process, the difference between real and fake collaboration and why creative leaders come in all shapes and sizes
Tony Vengrove's insight:
I feel the main reason I was able to be an effective corporate innovation leader was because of my ad agency experience. Cutting my teeth on the agency side taught me the basic creative leadership skills I carried forward to this day.
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Developing Leadership Skills for Innovation: The Questions Strong Leaders Ask

Developing Leadership Skills for Innovation: The Questions Strong Leaders Ask | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
As a leader in your company, you are one of the primary forces shaping the success or failure of the innovation process. Learning to further your leadership skills and develop a more effective style can make all the difference in your organization’s accomplishments.
Tony Vengrove's insight:
I've always appreciated Phil McKinney's insight and I'm happy he's sharing more of his creative leadership thinking.
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The Rise of Creative Leaders

The Rise of Creative Leaders | Creative Leadership | Scoop.it
In the digital age of fast-paced changes, creativity is necessary as a leadership trait. Who are creative leaders and how can we embrace this virtue?
Tony Vengrove's insight:
Well-researched and written piece. They approach Creative Leadership more from the Puccio et al framework, but it's still good stuff.
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