From HBR’s executive summary of Ed Catmull’s article on creativity at Pixar (Via Merlin):
The trick to fostering collective creativity, Catmull says, is threefold: Place the creative authority for product development firmly in the hands of the project leaders (as opposed to corporate executives); build a culture and processes that encourage people to share their work-in-progress and support one another as peers; and dismantle the natural barriers that divide disciplines.
I couldn’t agree more. One of the reasons this is such an effective way to foster creativity amongst a group is that it keeps morale high. When you’ve got designers and developers who have to answer to what they see as the whim of an invisible executive, they quickly lose their will to take risks, work hard, and persevere unto breakthrough and innovation.
As Catmull says in the original article, great talent is better than great ideas. And talent will only stick around as long as they feel happy, challenged, and appreciated.