Creating a Culture of Innovation

12/10/2009 at 10:30 Leave a comment

Laura ThrallLast week on my radio program I had the opportunity to interview Laura Thrall, CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. She shared many great ideas and how United Way is meeting challenges in the current economy. In case you missed the program, I wanted to share one of the ways Laura creates a culture of innovation at United Way.

The Weekly Mash-Up

I asked Laura about leadership and how she inspires and engages her team. She talked about leading by example, willing to roll up her sleeves and fostering a culture of creativity. I asked her for some concrete examples of empowering staff to be creative.

Every week all staff are invited to the Weekly Mash-Up – ALL staff…not just management or directors. Anyone who is available is welcome to attend and participate. The purpose of the meeting is to generate new ideas, solve problems, think creatively. Ideas that came out of that meeting include:

  • Chalking the Chicago sidewalks with Live United Chicago logo
  • United Way coffee jet packs outside United Way corporate offices to serve staff as they arrive

Some nonprofits talk about creativity, but are reluctant to change. Some leaders ask for new ideas and shoot them down. In this economy and always we need to be innovative. A leader does not have to come up with all the answers but they can empower staff. Change is good. New ideas make change.

Couple quick ideas to encourage and empower innovation:

  • Use mind mapping to approach ideas, challenges, problem solving from a different point of view and using a visual diagram
  • BBQ the sacred cow – What in your organization can’t be touched? Does it keep your organization from moving forward or just is? Is it time to let it go? This can release a lot of energy and creativity.
  • View a challenge through someone else’s point of view
  • Use mind tiles to get ideas out and move them from creativity to innovation
  • Engage in brainstorming: Remember – no idea is a bad idea, no comments – just a flow of ideas

Practice creativity. Empower creativity. It will lead to innovation.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Entry filed under: Resources You Can Use!. Tags: , , , .

TweetCamp Chicago Success! BLOG ACTION DAY – Climate Change

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Beyond Melbourne

Food Travel Markets Artists

Annual Fund Lab

Sparking Ideas; Generating Conversation

Gippsland Unwrapped

Zero waste, plastic free and no palm oil. My life 'unwrapped' in Gippsland.

Just another site


Leaders Not Managers

Susan Sink

life on these 80 acres

The Net Naturalist

A field guide to social media.

Good By Choice

philanthropy. kindness. insights. observations

Pretty Prints & Paper

Using the bullet journal and calligraphy to cultivate an intentional life

Passion Themed Life

multi-passionate mom learning as i go


Life with Labs in Las Vegas

No Small Change

All things pertaining to communications, from the bunch of us at Barapani

Activate Learning Solutions

Learning Solutions that Activate Performance in Your Company

Clay Myers-Bowman

Producer, Photographer & Fundraising Consultant

Startups and Burritos

Mostly about startups but sometimes about burritos too.

Nonprofit Nate

Helping people help causes.

Talisman Thinking Out Loud

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

%d bloggers like this: