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    “License to try” breeds creativity

    By Justin Goldsborough | December 29, 2008

    Justin case you were wondering…I don’t believe that creativity is genetic, at least not completely. I’ve heard people say you’re either born with creativity or you’re not. In response, I call on my tried and true, journalism-school vocabulary and say — “Bull honkey.”

    Creativity is something that can be learned just like long division and state capitals. And it can just as easily be squelched. The key is whether or not you have a “license to try” (yes, I got that phrase from my favorite “Corey’s” movie, License to Drive :) ).

    Most people learn by doing. But to learn this way, you have to be allowed to take chances. Find someone who calls themself creative and probe a bit further. I guarantee they’ve been given latitude to experiment. Creativity isn’t necessarily getting it right the first time.

    On the same token, talk to people who say they aren’t creative at all. Do they really lack the potential to think up new ideas or have they been conditioned to do things one way? Worse yet, are they afraid to try an alternative route.

    At Sprint, our No. 1 imperative is “Do it now.” In my opinion, that’s Dan Hesse telling us to be creative. Take chances. Make an impact. Take a shot. But you can’t do any of these things if your first thought is “What will my boss say?” or “What will my colleagues think?” And that doesn’t mean you’re not creative. It just means you’re hesitant to learn by doing because of how “doing it now” might be perceived.

    So, I’d ask you to ask yourself: Do you have a “license to try?” More importantly, do you encourage your employees and colleagues to get behind the wheel?

    “The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of Sprint.”

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