Image courtesy of William Warby on Flickr, under Creative Commons.
Sometimes I think we spend a lot of time and effort on being a good cog in the system.  We concern ourselves with compliance and efficiency over creativity, innovation, and passion. It gets hard to innovate when your main concern is being a good cog. I recently read the article by Wade Devers titled "Want a Better Agency Culture?  Do Better Work."  The article really hit home for me. He goes into what agencies with great creative culture look like, vs what agencies with lousy creative cultures look like.  That's what hit home the most. Culture is the manifestation of our beliefs. In trying to build a creative culture, you must change people's beliefs.  As long as the belief is that an effective cog is a good employee, it will be difficult to get innovation and creativity out of anybody. While the work we do does reflect our culture, the belief that we are innovative and creative, the idea that we can approach our work with at least some passion, is key to doing our best work, and building a creative culture. Sometimes this may mean being the counter balance to those leaders who value timeliness over innovation. Creative leadership requires an individual to provide a counter balance to those forces that seem to suck passion and creativity out of the work day. I sometimes feel like we spend a whole lot of time getting ready to go somewhere, getting everything packed just right, and then pat ourselves on the back for packing everything so well.  We don't actually go anywhere. I'm not interested in doing more "projects."  Instead, I'm interested in how these projects can be a reflection and extension of the individuals putting them together, and how they benefit the ultimate end user, the students. Creativity has gone ignored and been undervalued for too long. Creative leadership means keeping standards high and allowing your team to do their best work by letting them know that they can, and should, bring their whole selves to work every day.  Letting them know that who they are is valued, so that they can create with passion and do better work. Then we can see the fruits of a creative culture. I'm trying to grow one every day.

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