7 Ways Leaders Can Celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week

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Participants in the New Fundamentals program get creative during Community Fusion, an activity in which participants experiment with various artistic methods and tools (even those they've never tried) to begin to learn to better communicate with one another and foster community

In our busy world, it can be challenging to make time to advance your innovation agenda and cultivate the creativity in the people around you. The development of new thinking, new ideas, and new actions often winds up on the back burner. So why not leverage World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21) to gain momentum on perplexing problems or seeking opportunities?

World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW) has been celebrated worldwide since 2002. It began in response to a banner headline in Canada’s National Post newspaper, May 25, 2001 that read, “Canada in Creativity Crisis.” As an alumnus of the International Center for Studies in Creativity in Buffalo, NY, I thought there was an opportunity here—to bring awareness to the notion that creativity is a basic human urge and can be celebrated. What if, I thought, everyone on the planet focused attention on creativity and innovation at the same time?

Back in the day, creativity wasn’t as well thought of as it is now. Many buckled it with the arts and left it there. Now we are acutely aware of how new thinking, new models, and new approaches all result from a beginning creative spark of insight fuelled by imagination. In IBM’s 2010 global study of CEOs, creativity was revealed as "the most crucial factor for future success."

Creativity and innovation are relatives. If you want innovation to occur, creativity best be on the menu. So must be a climate, a day-to-day environment which welcomes exploration without condemnation. New ideas need a soft place to land.

The purpose of WCIW is to provide a period of time to strengthen awareness and provide support so that people can:

  • express themselves in new ways
  • find new solutions to old problems
  • create new opportunities
  • overcome barriers
  • open new choices
  • make new decisions
  • create new futures

Creativity and innovation are relatives. If you want innovation to occur, creativity best be on the menu.

Marci Segal

Leaders can leverage WCIW to:

  • engage colleagues
  • strengthen dimensions of a culture of innovation
  • get creative juices going
  • inspire people with new ideas
  • launch programs that build a climate to foster creativity and innovation
  • reinforce the idea that innovation is vital to success
  • anchor innovation communication and activities
  • bring employees together in new ways
  • give permission to let loose and have fun
  • exercise and delegate creative leadership
  • celebrate success and recognize innovative colleagues
  • have fun

So, for your consideration, here are seven ways leaders can celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15-21. It’s a kick-starter list, of course. Admit it. You’re creative—use this as a running start to create ways to make a difference, to tweak the system in ways that are relevant for your context, aspirations and plans.

  1. Hold an idea jam on a certain topic
  2. Share past successes with innovation
  3. Ask your teams to design a remarkable experience
  4. Invite customers to hear a guest speaker
  5. Teach people how to inspire creativity in others
  6. Hold lunch conversations about what creativity means to everyone
  7. Take a break in new and different ways

Your suggestions are welcome. Feel free to add your ideas and action to the comments section, to share and to archive for next year’s World Creativity and Innovation Week.

For further information visit the WCIW website.  

Marci Segal is the founder of World Creativity and Innovation Week.

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