Fast Company - December 2004 - The Care and Feeding of the Creative Class Fast Company's Linda Tischler talked to the managers of several creative enterprises to find out what the secrets of managing a truly creative team was all about - this is what she found:
1) Recruit for diversity, but hire for philosophy - you want your team to be diverse to spark ideas and generate energy - but you must make sure everyone's aligned on what drives them with the direction you want to go in
2) Rehab the neighbourhood - change the team's surroundings to encourage them to do things a little bit different. "Light, space, wall art, and goofy toys are critical to the alchemy of the creative process"
3) Within limits, let them make the rules - Understand that the creative process is not linear and that treating creatives like line workers will backfire. Allowing them input into the setting of their own deadlines for example will have them more committed to delivering ontime.
4) Keep their eyes on the prize - make sure people are committed to finishing what they've started
5) Feed their heads - Keep stimulating creative's imagination through the introduction of outside stimuli: outside speakers, art and photo exhibits, and social events for example.
6) Teach them a new language - Communication is key - being able to communicate your idea to people outside your area of competence can make the difference in having your idea accepted. For example, Try giving your technical staff basic "business-speak" courses and vice versa
7) Allow time for blue-sky thinking - give people time to take creative leaps by giving them to work on projects of their own choosing - even those that aren't technically part of their jobs
8) Protect your team from creativty killers - "The essential difference between creative workers and everybody else is that their work product is a personal expression of who they are. As a result, they're more emotionally exposed than other workers and more vulnerable to criticism". It's important to explain why some ideas are no good so creatives have an understanding of where they went off the rails -- and how to improve.
9) Add libral doses of fun - "Fostering an environment where fun isn't viewed as goofing off is absolutely critical"