CEO Insider

How to Supercharge Your Creativity as a CEO

Hussain Almossawi

Many view CEOs as the brains of an enterprise – the passion-driven, logistics-obsessed leader who is always thinking ten steps ahead and dreaming up new ways to make the company more successful.

But what happens when CEOs get bogged down by the day-to-day pressures of running a company? How can they maintain their creativity and continue to come up with innovative ideas?

The challenges of running a business are manifold and can leave even the most imaginative CEO feeling creatively drained. From setting an institutional vision to managing day-to-day operations, finding time and energy for more innovative pursuits can be difficult.

In addition, the high-stakes nature of being a CEO often lends itself to a risk-averse mindset, which can further stifle creativity. And when business is booming, there can be a temptation to simply stick with what’s working instead of looking for ways to improve.

So how can CEOs supercharge their creativity and continue to come up with fresh ideas? Here are four practical techniques that can help:

  1. Create Diverse Feedback Loops
  2. Encourage and Reward Creativity
  3. Take Time for Reflection and Learning
  4. Be Open to New Ideas and Ways of Thinking

Each of these techniques can help CEOs tap into their creativity and develop innovative ideas to help their businesses thrive.

  1. Create Diverse Feedback Loops
    CEOs often find themselves siloed from the rest of their company, often only receiving information from a small set of direct reports, who then take information further down the chain. This can lead to tunnel vision and a lack of creativity.

    To avoid this, CEOs should make a point to create diverse feedback loops that give them insights from a variety of sources. This can be done by talking to employees at all levels of the company, seeking out customer feedback, or even talking to people outside of the business altogether.

    Diversity can play a role in creativity, so exposing yourself to various perspectives makes you more likely to come up with fresh ideas. Plus, when you aren’t the only one coming up with ideas, you can avoid getting bogged down in the details and stay focused on the big picture.

    And don’t be afraid to hire individuals who may be more skilled in certain elements of the business than you – as these “extra arms” can help you expand your vision and see the bigger picture.

  2. Encourage and Reward Creativity
    If you want your team to be creative, you must clarify that creativity is valued within the company. This means creating an environment where new ideas are encouraged and rewarded.

    One way to do this is to set aside time for brainstorming sessions where employees are free to share any and all ideas, no matter how far-fetched they may seem. These sessions should be fun and collaborative, focusing on generating as many ideas as possible.

    Another way to encourage creativity is to give yourself and your team permission to experiment. This means trying new things and taking risks, even if they don’t always pan out. It’s essential to create an environment where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn, not a cause for punishment.

  3. Take Time for Reflection and Learning
    In a fast-paced business world, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget to step back and reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. But reflection is essential for creativity, as it allows you to take a step back and see the big picture.

    Remember the quote from former US President Harry S. Truman: “Not all readers are leaders – but all leaders are readers.” The same holds true for CEOs – not all of them will come up with creative ideas, but those who take the time to read and learn will be better positioned to do so.

    There are many ways for CEOs to reflect and learn, including reading books, attending conferences, and even listening to podcasts. By taking the time to learn from others, CEOs can gain fresh perspectives and new ideas that can help them think creatively.

  4. Put (and Keep) The Right People in the Right Positions
    How often have you hired someone for a particular role, only to find them shifting their focus to other tasks that the moment requires? And once these people move from their intended roles to extraneous tasks, it can be hard to pull them back in.

    As in life, so in business – the tyranny of the urgent can see skilled individuals spend their valuable creative energies focused on the wrong things. This can lead to passionless work and burnout – a recipe for disaster in a business that needs the best from its people.

    Just as you wouldn’t expect a flower to thrive in the dry, cracked ground, don’t expect people to give you their best creative output when placed in the wrong position. Learn what “soil” is best for each team member, and then equip them to pursue their passion. Combining skills with passion in your people will bring new life to your creative pursuits.

Avoid Scarcity Thinking and Invest in Creativity

CEOs are under a lot of pressure to be creative – our world exists in a scarcity mindset where there are only so many “good ideas” to go around.

The reality is that creativity doesn’t work like that. There are an infinite number of good ideas out there, but it’s up to us to find them.

Fortunately, there are a number of things CEOs can do to supercharge their creativity. By following the tips in this article, CEOs can create an environment that fosters creativity and come up with fresh ideas.

When leaders can enhance their creativity, they are able to bring new solutions to the table – which is something that always benefits industries and markets.


Written by Hussain Almossawi.
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Hussain Almossawi
Hussain Almossawi is a renowned designer and innovator who has worked across industries around the world creating and consulting for companies, including Nike, Apple, Google, Adidas, EA Sports, Intel, and Ford Motor Company. As a regular keynote speaker on innovation and design, Hussain has also taught at several universities such as The New School. In 2019, Hussain founded Mossawi Studios, a multi-disciplinary design studio specializing in creating memorable, iconic, and bold experiences. He loves blurring the lines between product design, visual effects, and storytelling. He is the author of The Innovator’s Handbook: A Short Guide to Unleashing Your Creative Mindset.


Hussain Almossawi is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. For more information, visit the author’s website. Connect with him through Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.