The T-shaped metaphor has been about for some time – being a strong person with specialist depth and generalist breadth.

People are recruited accordingly:

  • A+ years of work experience in B role
  • Must have C degree in D specialism
  • At least E years experience in the F industry
  • Experience working in a G environment
  • Practical experience of working with H method

And then a subconscious bias kicks in where managers choose people like themselves. Meaning the same people are hired, again and again – gingerbread people cookie cutters.

Which often leads to a place of confirmation bias, creating a culture that reinforces the same way of doing things and affirms the same belief systems at play.

That approach worked, somewhat, during the Knowledge Age. But it’s blunt now, as this next shift – the Conceptual Age – is calling for sharp innovation.

Innovation is not down to you or me. It’s down to us. As true creativity comes from a place diversity. From having a room full of individual experiences and different ideas – a gingerbread house.

What can you do to start building a team shaped for the future?

Creative stuff

It’s been proven again and again that there is no correlation between creativity and intelligence. That doesn’t exist. Intelligence is no indicator of creativity.

And there’s absolutely no physiological evidence indicating that a highly creative person has a different brain structure than somebody who isn’t. We’ve all got the same stuff.

What does matter is being exposed to lots of stuff, to lots of ideas.

You’ll be more creative the more ideas you’re exposed to and you’ll be less creative depending on how few ideas you’re exposed to.

And we see this in everyday life.

When people ask us, how do I do something and you give them an answer. And they say, “Wow that’s amazing.” But it’s not amazing at all. It’s just that you’ve done it before. Or you know someone who has. Or you’ve seen it done.

So the more things you know about the more creative you’re going to be.

The most creative people in the world are simply people who are surrounded by other people who know a lot of stuff. And know lots of different stuff from lots of different areas.

So there can be no substitute in any business for widely exposing people good ideas. Even bad ideas. Just expose people to stuff.