How do you create a culture of innovation and creativity in your team?

In this post, I share a video from Ben Chestnut, CEO and co-founder of MailChimp on the topic of creative culture. I also share my key takeaways and some of my own experience.

Innovation and creativity comes from assembling pieces from other stuff in weird ways.

The video is from 2012 but still very relevant today as Ben illustrates a creative culture using a steam engine producing steam as an analogy. If you're short on time, I would recommend watching 19:36 - 35:20.

He demonstrates how MailChimp embraced chaos and empowered the team to iterate on small ideas. Instead of coming up with that one big idea straight from the get-go, they just kept making stuff and building on each new idea. Innovation and creativity came from assembling pieces from other stuff in weird ways.

Don't worry about big ideas, just keep making stuff.

In my own experience, I have found what Ben shared in the video to be very true. I've realized that my passion projects have continually built on each other with slight twists on technologies that already exist and bringing these disparate ideas together in new ways.

Continue to build on your ideas and connect the dots.

Even this very blog post is testament to the iterative nature of creativity. This blog post started out as a list of my public YouTube favorites, I then focused on the videos around loving your work and settled on focusing on this one video on innovation and creativity.

For teams looking to promote innovation, embrace the chaos and encourage experimentation. This is what leads to a culture of innovation and creativity that can add that competitive advantage to your team.


If you're interested in reading about creating a culture of innovation further, I'd recommend reading "The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures", a Harvard Business Review article recently published on this topic.