At the end of March, I attended a breakfast event on leadership and creativity with Jurgen Appelo, one of the great thinkers on management and leadership.

The breakfast was hosted on a nice Paris rooftop.

The breakfast was hosted on a nice Paris rooftop.

His presentation was about how we can foster an innovative environment at work and how we can stimulate creativity. This is a key challenge for companies: how to manage the short-term operational needs while being creative and finding new solutions, but also preparing the future by having the ability to test new ideas and innovate. I had shared Alex Osterwalder’s view on this in a previous blog post.


Jurgen Appelo suggests seven rules for Creativity managers:

1. Nurture diversity: This is about mental diversity, not physical diversity. How do you operate with diverging opinions and ideas? One idea is to build cross-functional teams.
2. Create markets: Build an internal ecosystem where people cooperate.
3. Rely on merits: Use peer recognition of good ideas, good solutions. Avoid the “committee-driven” decision process.
4. Make no predictions: Do not assume the future. Test different options.  Plan for the unknown.

5. Update the workplace: Build a customized and adaptable workplace, which is creative in itself, has a variety of spaces, and allows for escape.
6. Change constraints: Optimize for learning and exploration. Do you allow your co-workers to experiment and try out new ideas?
7. Open boundaries: Extend sharing and transparency outside the company, through cross-company events and conferences.

If you want to know more on the subject, take a look at the following article and at Jurgen’s slides below:

All these ideas are a mindset rather than actual concrete practices, and they need to be shared by the whole company. At Dashlane, we’re trying to explore new ideas by organizing our first Innovation Day, an internal hackathon where mixed teams will try and build innovative prototypes.

I will tell you all about this event in a future post, so stay tuned for more.