Creativity is not a department.

Creativity is an action.

Creativity solves problems, serves others, innovates, and dreams up new ideas.

The lie we start to believe is that creativity is a department that does creative “things.” In my experience, great creative teams have three functions that co-exist.

  • They’re a service department – serving the ministries and departments inside of our organization. Service departments facilitate the needs of others. They make sure that those departments get the tools they need, that the tools exceed their expectations, and that the tools facilitate the goals of the department. Service departments also consult and advise best practices for projects and initiatives.
  • Innovate. There is a different lens we use when we think about dreaming and innovating rather than being “creative”. Innovation is the process of making things better. Innovation creates change.
  • Dream. This is fun, but the least measurable responsibility of a creative team. This is where we identify the canvas and develop things that have not been done, seen, or felt before. There is a deceptive layer to this function – the layer of replication. Creating in the dream phase is not warming up old ideas. Real dreaming takes places when we come up with the new “new” for our organizations. Beyond this point, it’s our job to dream. No one is going to dream for us. Even if our dreams never see the light of day, get shot down, or can’t find traction, that doesn’t give us permission us to stop dreaming. Our dreams might just be the unique voice that changes everything for our organizations, but we’ll never know if we quit dreaming and sharing those dreams.

Creativity is something that we expect from people on our teams, not a department. Avoid the trap of acting like change is happening and confusing that with ACTUAL change happening. Work hard to serve, innovate, and dream, but also know when each of these functions is necessary.

What other functions does your team execute?

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