Digital leadership, innovation and collaboration

When working in digital and creative jobs in any organisations you have to be innovative, brave and daring enough to take risks when you introduce new digital ideas.

Still there are many people fearing new technology and that stops development and can make an entire organisation to a stand still. Standing still and not developing a project during just a few months can be devastating in digital.

Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding (maybe you’ve noticed that yourself!) and to keep your clients happy you need to explore new techniques and new ways to connect.

When you discover new ways to do business you will most likely use digital tools, for example, to establish new ways of trading, new ways of managing customer service and even in the creation of new products.

Businesses that do well are often ahead of the game, use technology well and show the way forward for others. These businesses are not waiting on anyone else or to learn from, they don’t want to copy ‘best practice’ before they take action. They make mistakes, learn from them and then move on to the next project.

An organisation that manages innovation well also knows how creativity works. We lose a lot of our natural creativity during our school years. After being told to do things in a certain way in school we don’t dare to explore things anymore. We try our best to fit in and to not stick out.

Sofie Sandell creativity image

Innovation and creativity are not comfortable

When you break a pattern or try out something new you stick out, and you might find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. If innovation feels comfortable you are probably not innovating, it’s business as usual you are doing. 

You can be lucky and have a team and environment that support you, that’s ideal but far from reality. The opposite might happen, people make fun of you and turn you down which results in you stop trying. Who would dare to be creative in an environment like that anyway? To be creative take a lot of energy on all levels, and with little support it can feel as it’s impossible. 

The ability to be creative is dependent on good communication with your team and shared values and beliefs that will drive you forward, as well as leadership that will quickly forgive you if you mess things up.

I interviewed PA Ståhlberg, Swedish creativity expert and he said: “If you want real creativity, you have to goof!” You might feel uncomfortable making mistakes, but his recipe for success calls for at least three mistakes per month. He said this to me a couple of years ago, now we need to explore ideas even quicker and goof up more often. 

Digital leadership is about knowing what motivates people and how to create an environment that will help the organisation in the long run. 

Language and creativity

When you work in a team one thing that really matters in regards to how creative you feel and dare to be is language. When someone is suggesting an improvement or a new idea, take the time and listen to what your colleague has to say and encourage them to tell you more.

Sometimes we are so busy that the way we communicate with others stops all kinds of flow and creativity and we won’t even spend two minutes listening to our colleagues. If this happens often you will soon see the results: bureaucratic inertia. It’s as if some people have a shell around them and will not let in any new ideas. 

Equally, we often evaluate an idea when the idea is too small and weak to survive criticism. I’ve made this mistake many times and presented a new idea to the kind of people who think that gold medals are awarded for being the most critical person in a business.

When you have a new idea or project you need to give it time to grow stronger and you need to share it with people who will give good input. Then, when it’s well-equipped for scrutiny, you can share it with the people who don’t know how to nurture ideas.

The art of collaboration

All organisations and people benefit from better collaboration, internally and externally. One way of helping creativity to flow is to form better relationships with the people around you. Then when you have a challenge you have more people to ask for help and they will be likely to help you out.

Today digital skills are essential in any profession. Use them intelligently and you will be one step ahead. 

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Thank you for reading.

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