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The Innovation Room

Here’s an interesting article on businesses making special meeting rooms for innovation. Not like normal conference rooms, these companies make a big room full of toys and such and when they need ideas they go to the “innovation room.” However, check out this description of Canadian Tires “innovation room.”

There are Lego sets and crayons on minisize tables and chairs, and a canoe and sun deck. A tree, seemingly sprouting from the walls, is made of ski poles, skateboards and other items sold by Canadian Tire. The room is usually locked.

That’s right, the innovation room is usually locked. We wouldn’t want to have innovation all the time. When we want people to use their imaginations, we’ll get out the keys and take them into a dusty abandoned room full of toys and get them to create for a while and then lock up the creation room again for another year.

I point this article out because I know creative people, unconnected to businesses, that do the same thing. They are so stingy with their creativity that they might as well have a locked room. Why not create constantly? A business that schedules innovation is going to lose out on a lot of opportunities and the same goes for creative individuals.

You don’t need a funny hat or a box of crayons to come up with a new idea unless the rest of your life was set up to squash new ideas. It’s like businesses, and creativity experts, have come up with a list of objects that represent imagination to them and they think putting them in a room with people magically makes them creative. The truth is that they lower the stakes of coming up with a stupid or bad idea. Crayons don’t make you more creative at work, but your boss not calling you an idiot for coming up with a bad idea probably would make you more creative.

Instead of the “innovation room” they should figure out what is killing innovation in the rest of the building and take care of that.

Read the article

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2 responses

  1. I like your point. It’s almost as if the symbols of an “innovation room” show how un-innovative the environment really is. The entire company should be an innovation room.
    I also like your suggestions of “creativity” toys as power symbols, signaling permission to create. Not only that, but the expectation that innovation can be conjured and stimulated on the spot grossly ignores the iterative and continous process of innovation.
    Great insights. Thanks.

    Like

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