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Renewing the creative momentum of your teams

Renewing the creative momentum of your teams

To foster creativity, rather than going to search for talents and methods outside the company, it might be equally beneficial to rely on internal forces. How can you unleash the creativity of your own teams?

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In financial services, fairy tales are not common. Yet, the story of Singaporean bank DBS is not without reminding us of a pumpkin turning into a coach! Until the 2010’s, this banking giant was mostly known for its bureaucratic culture and the long waiting queues at its counters. Enough of a reputation to be astounded when, in 2016, it was recognized as “Asia’s best digital bank” by Euromoney magazine. This was the first of a long series of awards received since. How did the former “mammoth” transform into an innovation champion? The bank did not recruit gurus from Apple or Netflix. It did not create a “corporate garage” nor installed ping-pong tables or design furniture on every floor. Rather, it focused on its culture and managerial practices: it orchestrated a whole array of incentives and promoted new behavioral norms. This systematic approach has enabled the teams and the staff to freely express their creativity.

This case study is interesting, in that it shows that creativity does not depend so much on talents as it does on the context: by setting up the appropriate conditions, we can push the most conservative teams to show audacity and inventiveness. An approach that, beyond this example, is supported by research into behavioral psychology. Indeed, individuals prefer routine and security: venturing “out of the box” has a significant cognitive and social cost. But this tendency towards inertia can be countered by other levers: curiosity, the desire to achieve a mission, to cooperate, etc.  

Understanding these hurdles and levers gives managers new weapons to create an environment that is propitious to creativity within their teams. For example, simple techniques to reformulate a problem can help the staff imagine more inventive solutions. An approach that is all the more effective when it is generalized across the whole company, through values, norms and performance management systems adapted to its ambitions.


In this synopsis:
– Maintaining creativity when working remotely
– Four qualities to cultivate to fuel the creative momentum of your staff
– Reformulating problems to solve them in a creative manner

Synopsis n.298a


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