Iain Hosie and Albert McGhee, Revolution Fibres, discuss how they encourage creativity and develop ideas in their workplace and why this is important for innovation.
Albert McGhee talks about ‘creative days’ – a formalised way to encourage creativity and ideas development in their workplace. Discuss with your students what they think of this idea. How important do your students think creativity is in the innovation process? Encourage them to find other examples of businesses that encourage creativity. What are the elements that would make this a successful strategy?
Innovation in this business has become central to the business, and we encourage creativity right from the start. I think people, when they have their interview here or they come into the business as an undergraduate, are encouraged right from the first day to follow their ideas through. We don’t encourage people to sit on their ideas and perhaps moan that their ideas don’t get a chance. We encourage people to actually take their ideas through to a stage where they feel confident about it. That could be at prototype stage where they may discover that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The most important way of encouraging creativity is to give people the freedom to express their ideas. People say, you know, there’s no bad ideas. It’s really hard to actually bring that into practice because, you know, little looks, sighs, mumbles – it’s very easy to crush people’s willingness to be open about their ideas. It’s where, really at Revo, we fundamentally want ideas because we’re constantly bombarded with problems, and sometimes, straws are all we have to grab at, so we’ll take almost any idea that comes our way.
That’s an informal way we do it. We have more formal ways. We have what we call creative days where we give the guys time where they can do almost anything they want to the general benefit of the business, but they don’t need to report on it, there’s certain budget allowance, they’re free to do what they like, and that’s been very successful for us. That’s a foundation of a lot of companies such as 3M – their innovation comes from creative days. It’s embedded in the organisation, so you really have to make it part of your daily life, your living and breathing within an organisation.
Iain Hosie, Albert McGhee
Simon Feasey, Hansol Cha, Cody McClure, Gareth Beckermann