Creative Culture For Product Team
I’m very amazed about how Spotify cooked the raw data into an amazing story for their product. Let’s take an example Spotify Wrap, it completely makes the data an ingredient and creativity is the way to cook it. In the era when peoples refer to quantitative data and the team tend to be data-centric, it will be hard to articulate the data without mixing it with creative thinking. Creativity is just like a muscle, it needs practice, consistency and treatment. This article will focus to share how our team practices a creative culture.
Build A Good Creative Culture
Every product design endeavor wants all of the product folks has the same empathy for their users but this will be tough if we are doesn’t have a good creative culture. In product at Dicoding, we take creative culture as a serious thing we don’t want our team members’ creativity to get stuck because of an unhealthy culture. How do we build a good creative culture?
Every human on earth is born creative, but they need a trigger. The team leader should pull the trigger by fun activities, in our team, we create a weekly based fun activity called I Love Monday. In this event the team member shares everything they want, it includes hobbies or just fun facts. Our goal is team bonding, it leads to more discussion to bring innovation within the team.
While every team member builds their chemistry with each other we also need to be open to each other that’s why feedback culture is also important. It’s a tough thing and needs time to build it. You need to build these 2 skills.
- Giving Feedback
This not just giving a comment to your teammates but this is a statement with a constructive word within it. When giving feedback you need to ask why for the opening, it’s to get clear information. Secondly, follow up with a “what if statement” to open another alternative. Last, give your feedback and ask what the teammates think about that feedback.
When you get feedback don’t defend. A good listener knows which statements are objective or subjective. If you find some subjective statement you just need to clarify that instead of giving a defensive statement. Once you get the objective statement try to align and focus on that statement.
A good team is like a sports team, we need to know each other to play better and win the game. Also, when we want to win the game it needs practice and strategy.
Build A Transparency
Being transparent in the team is part of the creative culture. To build a transparency culture, my team not only uses daily check-ins or standups. We also use another session. There is some additional thing that we do:
Sparring and Pairing
Sparring and pairing is a good treatment that could improve the transparency in our team. It doesn’t mean we have to book a 1-hour meeting to have this discussion, we simply ask 5 minutes of teammates’ time to open the discussion. Don’t feel hesitate to ask your teammates. Each teammate should be in the same state, there are no team hierarchy boundaries for us. We just need a balanced discussion. No one is dominating the discussion and no one feels intimidated.
Fearless to Fail
The reason why we feel afraid to show our work is because of the fear of failure and the fear of looking like a fool to the team. We realize if we tend to fear failing there are no innovations in our product.
Respect The Initiative
The initiative is gold, becoming an initiator is also the gold. Both of them are rare, once we find any initiative we always appreciate it. Of course, appreciating is doesn’t enough, we challenge the initiator to take an action and lead them to the new challenge without any fear of failure.
Everything Is Gray Area
Creativity and innovation always come with a risk. If there is a risk within them it’s hard to make our team members brave to innovate. Give freedom to each team member to be a strategist and initiator. Once there is some mistake don’t blame it but repair it together.
Fearless Doesn’t Mean Plan Less
Every initiative is well prepared, we discussed the main goals, scaling the impact, and mapping the constraint. We plan the checkpoints, the action items, scoping, and think about the resources. If there is any probability that the ideas are hard to implement because for some reason just tweak them or re-scale them.
Let’s be realistic, of course not every idea is make sense. Don’t worry, if the ideas do not make any sense, keep looking for any other ideas. Make the team member free to fail because if there is the freedom to think then we have the freedom to fail. Fail fast learn fast.