Creativity can be difficult to harness sometimes. We get stuck in ruts or aren’t challenged to push ourselves.
I find sharing and breaking down examples of great work helps spark ideas. More importantly, I provide opportunities for them to push and explore ideas, often without boundaries, to see how where it leads them.
Below are two examples of opportunities I’ve used to help foster creativity.
Complex challenges warrant exploring several different design solutions. Instead of having one designer create multiple design options, why not have multiple designers each contribute a solution, and throw in some friendly competition?
Each designer's submission is judged by the users themselves via a user testing site such as usertesting.com. We initially test using comps without expending any engineering resources.
Using a video-based user testing site allows the team to hear feedback first-hand on what specifically is or is not working. We watch the videos together, and the team learns a lot from each other's designs as well as their own.
We use a bracket system to determine a wining design for each round. The final winner gets bragging rights, and in our case, a star pin which they could display like a badge of honor.
In the end we ended up revising the top winners from our learnings and then A/B slice test those.
Similar to companies such as Google and Facebook's 20% Project, we pursue a personal project based on a business need. In our case, it was a compromise to take up only 4 hours a week to balance the work load with our lean team.
We began the initiative at the beginning of a quarter and scheduled a presentation of the projects at the end. Every 2 weeks, each team member shared their work internally for team feedback.
• To inspire innovation and ultimately increase company potential.
• To be proactive, not reactive. Allows time for future, out-of-the-box thinking.
• Allows for creativity without constraints (data, capacity, etc.).
• Have some fun. Break design rules. Stretch creative wings.
The 10% Project was successful. 120 people from across the organization attended our presentation, including senior leadership and the President of Flights, Rental Cars and Cruises.
"This was such a cool idea/meeting. Really awesome job pulling it together and executing. I know it can be hard to do things like this. Other BUs could learn a lot!"
What went well
We had a high turn out. People (including executive leadership) were interested in what we did and wanted to participate. We inspired others and attendees wanted to work with us in future rounds of our 10% Project.