Three Ways to Overcome Innovation Roadblocks
November 30, 2018 | Innovation
by ExperiencePoint

Three Ways to Overcome Innovation RoadblocksCreativity drives innovation. So how can managers urge their teams to let their creative juices flow? A design thinking workshop is a great place to start, but if you need to nudge them in a more creative direction today, our star facilitators offer this advice:

“Accept, embrace, and reward failure,” says Luke Brodie, an ExperiencePoint master facilitator. Brodie often quotes Brene Brown: 

“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period,” as a way to encourage managers to see the value in failure as a step in the innovation process. “When people are encouraged to try new things, they often don't go as anticipated,” he says. “When managers acknowledge this and give people the latitude to fail, an organization can be well-served by the learning that comes from these failures.”

The key, he says, is making sure lessons are learned from those failures to shape the future direction of the project. “In this way, you avoid making the same mistakes again, and use the experience to get closer to a solution that is desirable, feasible, and viable.”

“Invite and encourage experimentation without fear,” advises master facilitator Keith LaPlante. Like Brodie, he believes the best way for teams to generate disruptive solutions is to give them the freedom to challenge themselves, and to try risky ideas that may not always pan out. “The easiest way to support this as a leader is to model it,” he says. He encourages managers to share their own ideas with the team, and to invite feedback on what works as a way to make them comfortable with the feedback process. “Maybe it’s a new meeting format or a redesign of your physical working space; or maybe it's a creativity exercise built into your regular team meetings to brainstorm cheap ways to tackle a team challenge,” he says. “Whatever you try, as the leader of your team you must model the way.” Remember, if you want your team to be creative, they must first see you doing so by example.

“Remind them that everyone is creative.” Kimberly Douglas of FireFly Facilitation, can’t count how many times she’s heard workshop participants (mistakenly) say that design thinking is only for people with inherent creative talent. The opposite is true, she says. “Design thinking shows us that there are ways to rejuvenate and enhance the inborn creativity that we are all born with but lose along the way.”

To get them over their own creative insecurities, Douglas introduces them to the six creative habits of design thinkers to help them see that they can begin to practice these habits right away. These include:


  1. Asking better “how might we” questions

  2. Talking to extreme users

  3. Conducting a better brainstorming session

  4. Seeing the world with empathy through customers’ eyes

  5. Iterating ideas and creating prototypes

  6. Requesting feedback in the form of “I like, I like, I wonder…”


If managers are still not convinced, she points to the famous quote from Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Our workshops can help leaders and organizations transform the way people learn, innovate, manage change and solve complex problems. Using realistic simulation experiences, and a hands-on and proven workshop method, ExperiencePoint gives participants foundational competence and the confidence to think and solve problems differently, innovate and transform their organizations. Learn more.


Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Kickstart Innovation: A Guide for Organizations.