Creating a Culture of Innovation

edison liu 2Creativity is fostered, not forced, says Edison Liu, President of Jackson Labs, a leading genetics research facility based in Bar Harbor, Maine. Creating a culture of creativity is like herding cats and requires a special touch, said Liu.

It is the culture of creativity that will yield ideas for innovation and growth beyond solely your ideas, says PCW, creating a multitude of possibilities among which to choose. It is the culture of creativity that will overcome the hurdles on the way to successful implementation and commercialization. This is the power of a culture of creativity, successful implementation of which takes a special brand of leadership.

herding-catsFostering creativity begins with a compelling vision that draws the creative cats forward to a common goal, said Liu during his talk at the Association for Consulting Expertise. Sounds basic and simple, yet the vision needs to be compelling to the group, to bring them together behind one purpose. However, it is easy not to be compelling to team members. Take a look at our next blog on creating and communicating a compelling vision.

Liu also espoused setting clear and achievable milestones. The vital issue here is the celebration of the small victories on the way to the big win. If the end goal is to cure cancer, celebrate the small steps along the way to build morale and confidence. Otherwise the task becomes a long, daunting and discouraging road.

Unherdable cats are not given naturally to sharing ideas so, as well as encouraging ideas, broker collaborations, praise collaborative efforts and  collective outcomes. Synergies will slowly arise among team members. From my own experience, some creative folks naturally build on the strengths of others; leveraging these tendencies will foster synergies more quickly.

Cats are independent and seldom agree. Be decisive when no consensus emerges, says Liu. Creative people will disagree with you. It is a fact of the matter. However, make the decision and be clear that you will take the consequences and not blame the team.

For more advice on effectively implementing a creative culture for profitable growth, PARTNERS would be happy to talk with you further.


Partners Creating Growth works with companies to realize their profitable opportunities. We have considerable experience in generating and selecting innovative ideas; developing and commercializing new products; and connecting to new markets. We offer coaching, strategic planning, market research and financing expertise worldwide to help organizations grow & disadvantaged regions thrive. Contact Tove Rasmussen @ 617-615-6419 or 207-409-7576 Email:

Photo credit: Leslie Bowman

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