We are living in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous times, a VUCA world. A number of businesses are failing to thrive including Toys R Us, a selection of Adriano Zumbo’s patisseries and Sumo Salad to name a few in the news.

We know that innovative teams turn ideas into value for their customers faster than their competitors. And we know that is what is needed in order to survive, adapt and succeed in the times we are in.

It got me thinking about what exactly is needed from leaders in this new reality – and what are the practical tips that are easy to implement by anyone, any team or any organisation wanting to harness a culture of innovation.

I contacted an old colleague from Google to get his thoughts on this. Chief Innovation Evangelist, Dr. Frederik G. Pferdt, who is also an Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (aka d.school). I’ve always respected his views on this topic, and within a very short time he responded with some simple tips.

According to Frederik, our confidence in our creativity dramatically drops from the age of 5 to 10 years of age. It continues to fall as we become adults, only 2% of adults have real confidence in their creative abilities. The good news is we can reverse this trend by practicing the art of creativity and innovation through some simple rituals, tools and mindsets. It is possible but it takes intention and agreements as a team to ‘get off autopilot’ and work in different ways to harness a culture of innovation.

Frederik was happy to share these top 5 tips through this joint blog.

  1. This is the way Google and IDEO foster Creativity: The importance of inclusion, psychological safety on teams, and empowering people with confidence in their creativity and the courage to act on their idea.
  2. Innovation is just an experiment away—go, explore: Everyone is capable of dreaming up great ideas and creativity exists in all of us. But capturing our innate creativity or innovation requires training our minds to think and act in new ways despite our unconscious avoidance of negative outcomes. The people who have overcome this innate habit tend to be the ones who have acted against all odds and changed the world.
  3. Ignite Innovation with workplace rituals: Rituals are ubiquitous across cultures and time. Now, organizations are tapping into the power of ritual to encourage innovation. These small acts can be used in the workplace to engender a sense of community, build cohesion and ultimately help take an organization from good to great.
  4. Hack your Innovation Mindset: The Stanford d.school strives to help people become everyday innovators. Learn how they help their students build the creative confidence to tackle real-life problems in innovative way.
  5. Fueling an Innovation Engine – A brand new podcast episode is now live on the Google Partners podcast site YouTube channel, SoundCloud, Google Play Music, and iTunes, and Stitcher.

“It is better to try something new with mixed results to learn than to do the same thing again and again.”