In her book Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration, Leigh Thompson, of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, describes collaboration that is “conscious, planned, and focused on generating new ideas”. This type of collaboration builds excitement and produces what she calls a ‘creative conspiracy’. She states, “…Teams that conspire to organize themselves, motivate one another, and combine their talents to meet creative challenges are the hallmark of the most successful organizations.”
However, the ‘creative conspiracy’ cannot be mandated as a necessary step towards the creation of a breakthrough or disruptive innovation. It has to grow around the development and formation of an innovation where participants “buy in” to the potential value, reality of the plan, validation of assumptions, and the “do-ability” of the execution plan. Following a pattern of human nature, the conspiracy is a bottom-up approach that grows organically as members individually commit to its success. This final idea, as it moves forward, will seek resources, test assumptions, challenge status quo, and create new possibilities. It will meet resistance from in-place vested interests.
During evaluation and allocation of resources, management must recognize and place value on these creative conspiracies because each team feels that they have a concept/action plan that will make a difference. Team members of the conspiracy yearn to put in place something new that solves a problem. The team may or may not be correct in their analysis, but no innovative projects succeed without the effort of an empowered, dedicated team that has taken personal ownership.