To spark creativity in his team, Amjad Da’as, PMP,
PgMP, senior project manager, IBM, Sydney, Australia, challenges project and program team members to take on additional responsibilities outside of
their usual roles and assigned tasks. For example,
he might ask a project manager to provide feedback after attending a senior-management steering-committee meeting, or ask for his or her big-picture
view and perspective on a troubled project.
“There is no way you can instill and promote
creativity in your team unless you first gain its full
trust,” he says. “You can only do this if you listen
to them and give them the opportunity to demonstrate that they are up to the proposed challenges.”
Doing so creates an environment in which project managers feel safe to explore creative ideas—and
that exploration feeds long-term idea generation.
For instance, open forums, during which various stakeholders freely discuss new ideas, can help
empower project managers and team members to
share ideas, strategies and solutions without worrying about judgment.
Is true creativity a special gift that only few possess? Or is
it a skill to be learned, practiced and perfected?
The consensus is the latter: 68 percent of respon-
dents to Creativity and Education: Why It Matters,
a 2012 study from research firm Edelman Berland,
believed creativity can be learned. Furthermore, 71
percent said creative thinking should be “taught as a
class—like math or science.”
But while technical skills are usually developed in the
classroom, the best way for project managers to learn
how to think creatively is through experience.
“Train project managers on how to be creative by involving them in real-life situations where creative thinking
can be applied and the results can be produced promptly,
rather than reading about such experiences from a journal
or inside a classroom,” says Amjad Da’as, PMP, PgMP, IBM,