The Ultimate Guide to Fostering Creative Employees

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“Todd, are you bored?”

I was 3 months into my new job. In that time, the majority of my “work” revolved around reading the 63 corporate policy documents. When she asked me this question, I remember being propped up in my chair studying a book:

  • Due to the diligence of the artist, that idea comes to fruition. How beautiful! A thought manifests in reality.
  • Eventually, someone convinces the artist to scale the business. Why impact the lives of a mere 10 people when you could reach 10 million? Surely if a little money is good, a lot is better.
  • People are added, structure is built,
  • Then, the killer — processes are made. The business has to be bulletproof! If every founder dies in a plane crash, money needs to keep rolling in.


A) Education

Say to the average man “make a list of 10 things in the world,” and he will likely struggle. The parameters are too large. What things? Are people things? Are states things? Are concepts things?

B) Trust

Valve is a software company which specializes in computer games. They are notoriously guarded about their sales metrics, so I can’t give you a number to wow you. I can only tell you they have been dominating the digital games market for the last 13 years or so.

“Mistakes, even expensive mistakes, or once which result in a very public failure, are generally looked at as opportunities to learn.”

How much room for error is there at your job? Slim? None? Valve has dominated and continues to dominate a market which piracy reigns for several reasons, but the two I see are:

  1. They continue to do this even after they have found success.

“We all innovate!”

What they often mean is:

“The 8 white people in our executive suite are empowered to make decisions!”

A company who can trust the average employee to create can better walk the line between art and business.

C) Space

It’s not enough to allow mistakes, it’s creating the culture to allow those mistakes in the first place.

D) Margin

(Not the same as space.)

E) Resources

Creative people don’t need more dollars to buy new paints and watercolors. They don’t need new toys or the best equipment (necessarily).

G) Permission

To talk to anyone.

F) Security

Here is the unavoidable question which accompanies innovation:

“What if I work myself out of a job?”

It’s understandable, isn’t it? Imagine a company where Employee A is hired to do Job A, and Employee B to do Job B.

“Take care of the company, and the company will take care of you.”

The business must walk, talk, eat, drink, and breathe this mantra.

Written by

An optimist who writes.

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