Unlocking Creativity in People
"Good morning everyone and welcome to Bisham Abbey" said Clive Woodward, newly appointed manager of the England Rugby team.
"For the next hour we'll be talking and thinking about how England plays rugby. In the five weeks leading up to our autumn Internationals, we'll be doing quite a bit of talking during meetings before we even think of heading down to the pitch. You may think it unusual that rugby players should spend so much time in the meeting room. Let me try and explain why I think we need to do this at the moment".
"I believe there are currently five teams in the world who could win the World Cup in 1999 and we all know who they are. We all have roughly the same standard of players, the same equipment and the same physical training routines. So what makes the difference between the winning team and the team that comes fifth? I believe the team that actually wins the World Cup will be the team that has the best mindset that encompasses new ideas and change".
Clive Woodward had made his entrance. The above is an excerpt from his book 'Winning'!
He talked about how in order to become better they need to embrace change and be open to doing things differently.
With the advice of Humphrey Walters he created a culture where no idea was regarded as a dumb idea. It might not be used but they encouraged idea after idea and an environment where nobody would be ridiculed for suggesting something out of the ordinary.
As a result one of the many creative ideas to be implemented was how they improved the changing rooms. The ground committee at Twickenham wouldn't direct any money to improve them even though Woodward had described them as looking like a prison cell. So they called up the TV programme Real Rooms who jumped at the chance to spruce them up and the result was incredibly successful. Woodward kept it a secret for the players until they walked into the changing room before a game with rivals Wales to see individual cubicles with hand-carved English oak name placards for each player and the words "To Be the Best" plastered all over the walls.
This is just one of hundreds of ideas that came out of creating this fearless creative environment, meaning ideas could be thrown into the mix with no fear whatsoever of ridicule. In fact it can be a very fun process when you know you are not going to be scorned, which in turn enhances creativity even further.
What sort of creative environment are you fostering?