Seeking Input and Sparking Creativity and Innovation

By Sara White posted 01-05-2020 09:24



 I am seeking your assistance/input. I am thinking about submitting a program proposal on "Integrating Life and Career for Busy Women and Men Pharmacists" for the 2020 MCM, which has to be submitted by Feb 1. I am thinking the "pearls" type, short practical 5 minute presentations may work well for actual "how tos". Some topics might be Using A Meal Service, Ensuring Family Time, Minimizing Guilt, etc.. Would this be of interest to you and what topics would you like to see presented and if you or know people who would be good as presenters also indicate names and email addresses?

Thanks a bunch

Encouraging Team Creativity Helping Your People to Think Creatively
from Mind Tools suggests.

  • The importance of creativity and innovation can't be overestimated. After all, you can have the best products and processes now, but if your organization lacks creative thinkers, you'll be left behind.
  • As this 2017 report from global management consultants McKinsey & Co emphasizes, "There are many reasons why companies perform well, such as market position or technology leadership. But it's also true that creativity is at the heart of business innovation, and innovation is the engine of growth."
  • The Importance of Creative Thinking
    • Creative thinking gives us great new ideas, and helps us to solve our most complex problems. And by encouraging creative thinking, you can also help your people to become more engaged with what they do, increase their self-confidence, and improve their morale.
    • As human beings, we have an innate desire to think and act creatively. It's not a trait unique to artists or musicians: all of us have a deep well of creativity at our disposal, just waiting to be let out.
    • Organizations that suppress this natural drive end up creating teams that are stale, disengaged, dissatisfied, and unproductive. Clearly, teams like these are incredibly bad for business!
  • Barriers to Creativity
    • So, if the creative drive is so instinctive for us, why aren't people creative all the time? Sadly, there are many common barriers to creativity, especially within organizations.
    • The attitude of the leadership team is probably the most important factor. In another study researchers concluded that the support that leaders give has a potent influence on team creativity. Without encouragement and support from above, people don't feel safe enough to take risks with their ideas, and, therefore, creative thinking is stifled.
    • Other issues with team creativity revolve around the common problems that teams face when people work together in groups. For instance, one team member may be dominant, drowning out everyone else's ideas in favor of their own. Or, other team members may be shy or apprehensive, and lack the confidence to express their creative ideas.
    • Additionally, Groupthink can hamper creative thinking, because people's desire for consensus overshadows their desire to come up with innovative, risky, solutions.
  • Six Strategies for Encouraging Creativity Despite these many barriers to creativity, it is possible to foster creative thinking in your team. But it does take a concerted effort to develop an environment that encourages creative thinking, both in the short and long term.
  • To encourage creativity in your team, use the following approaches:
  • Avoid Micromanagement
    • Micromanagement can be a major inhibitor of creative thinking. This is one of the many reasons why, as a leader, you avoid micromanaging your team. Give your people the space and freedom they need to think creatively, and work and excel on their own.
  • Build Trust
    • The relationship between you and your team should be one built on trust. Without trust and mutual respect, creative thinking can't occur. This is because creative thinking involves a certain amount of risk, and people don't take risks with those they don't trust You can also create a sense of safety by reminding your team often how important creative thinking is to you and to your organization. You may feel that you "sound like a broken record," but repetition will drive the message home, and will demonstrate that your interest isn't a passing fad.
  • Don't Penalize Failures
    • Many people resist expressing their creative ideas, and especially acting on them, because they're afraid of failure. Or, they might be afraid that they'll be penalized if their idea doesn't work.
    • As a leader, it's important to help your team overcome the fear of failure, and to recognize that good things can come from it. Many failures hide important lessons and insights that, when taken to heart, can lead to greater successes down the road.
    • Failure can also lead to wonderful new products and ideas. For instance, one of 3M's most famous products, the Post-It note, is the direct result of a failure. A researcher in the company was trying to develop a new glue, which turned out to be incredibly weak. Another 3M professional heard about the failed glue and started using it to keep his bookmarks attached to pages. The rest, as they say, is history!
  • Use Effective Brainstorming Techniques
    • Brainstorming is a popular and effective technique for generating ideas. However, many of the barriers that inhibit creativity, such as Groupthink, deference to authority, and shyness, crop up during brainstorming sessions. This is why it's often more effective to use variants of brainstorming than it is to use brainstorming itself.
    • If you have a member of your team who tends to drown out everyone else's ideas, then use brainstorming techniques such as Round-Robin Brainstorming or Crawford's Slip-Writing Method  . These techniques encourage idea generation, yet ensure that everyone in your group has an equal chance to contribute.
    • If you believe that your team's creativity is being suppressed because achieving consensus seems to be people's top priority people to develop each others' ideas, while everyone still has an equal chance to contribute.
  • Lead by Example
    • Never forget that your team looks to you first when it comes to creativity. Encourage your people to think more creatively by leading by example.
    • Come up with your own creative ideas, don't be afraid to take risks, and stick up for team members whenever they have an unusual idea that takes them or the team out of their comfort zones. The more you demonstrate your own creative thinking, the more your team will feel safe enough to follow suit.
  • Encourage Solitude
    • Sometimes, people may find it easier to come up with creative ideas when they're working alone. Whenever you can, encourage them to take time to explore new concepts and ideas.
    • If possible, allow them time to pursue projects that they feel passionate about. Also, consider setting aside a specific space, such as an empty office or conference room, and provide the tools and resources that they need to pursue these ideas.
    • This sense of freedom and empowerment can go a long way toward fostering a sense of creativity and excitement within your team.
  • This can be especially challenging for perfectionist pharmacists so as the leader give them permission to bring up new ideas as the current procedures made sense when developed but times have changed.


Sara J, White
(Ret.) Director of Pharmacy
Stanford Hospital and Clinics