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Beyond the Script: Novel Thinking in LeaderProv

In our previous post, Hey Waiter, There is Improv in My Leadership, we discussed that creativity is a LeaderProv fundamental value that nurtures and supports novel thinking to produce innovative ideas that challenge the limits of conventional thought. Yet, what does it mean to engage in novel thinking and develop novel solutions? This post explores those two questions in more detail.

As we previously discussed, LeaderProv integrates the principles of improvisation and leadership, centering around relationships, collaboration, and inclusivity. Improv principles, such as Yes, and, and spontaneity, are essential tools in creating an environment for novel thinking to emerge. These techniques encourage everyone in an organization to build on ideas collaboratively, supporting a culture of exploration rather than shutting down innovative suggestions. Through improv’s tenets, LeaderProv challenges everyone in an organization to go beyond established practices to new ways of thinking.

Amabile and Khairs (2008) stated “One doesn’t manage creativity. One manages for creativity.” They further explained that all, “employees must contribute to imagination. Creativity does not begin and end with a leader nor can it be forced from the top down. The leader, in conjunction with all employees, builds an environment where creativity is allowed to flourish throughout the organization. When this happens, novel thinking becomes a possibility and allows for the generation of fresh ideas, perspectives, and solutions that deviate from the norm.

How do we engage and build creativity and novel thinking in the workplace? It involves fostering an environment that encourages asking questions, exploration, collaboration, and innovation. Some strategies to promote novel thinking include:

1. Encourage open communication and idea-sharing among team members.

2. Provide opportunities for brainstorming sessions and collaborative problem-solving.

3. Embrace a growth mindset that values experimentation and learning from failure.

4. Offer training and resources to develop creative thinking skills.

5. Create a diverse and inclusive workplace that welcomes different perspectives and ideas.

6. Allow for autonomy and flexibility in how tasks are approached and completed.

7. Reward and recognize innovative ideas and contributions from employees.

8. Emphasize the importance of curiosity and exploring new possibilities.

9. Incorporate elements of play and experimentation into work processes.

10. Encouraging employees to seek inspiration from outside sources and diverse experiences.

Now that we have created an environment for novel thinking, what does it mean to develop novel solutions? It means coming up with creative and innovative approaches to solving problems or addressing challenges. It involves thinking outside the box, exploring new ideas, and considering unconventional methods that may not have been tried before. Novel solutions are original, inventive, and often break away from traditional or routine ways of doing things. They require imagination, creativity, and the willingness to take risks to discover unique and effective ways of achieving desired outcomes.

Incorporating creativity and novel thinking within an organization holds immense promise to develop fresh perspectives for old problems and coming up with new solutions. The unimagined suddenly becomes imagined, paving a path to growth, experimentation, challenging of assumptions, and adaptation to evolving circumstances. When people are given the space to imagine new things, unexpected possibilities emerge.

Amabile and Khairs (2008, October). Creativity and the role of the leader. Harvard Business Review., 101-109.

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