Adam Bryant of the New York Times recently interviewed Jarrod Moses, chief executive of the marketing agency United Entertainment Group. Moses talked about a very unique aspect of his company's culture. Here's an excerpt:
One of the first things we bought was a tour bus. We use it instead of flying. We take it at least 25 times a year to different meetings throughout the country. There’s an amazing culture that develops on the bus. You learn so much about one another, and you develop this candor and trust that you don’t get in the office. The creative juices just flow, and they flow 24 hours. They could come from a joke; they could come because someone is just overtired. You never know. The point is that there’s no barrier to entry for the idea. People are wearing T-shirts and shorts. No one is the C.E.O. on the bus. It’s like a band. There’s a magic to it.
Now I know what many of you are thinking... this silly stuff is for creatives, but not for us. Well, the point really isn't about whether you should run out and buy a tour bus. Here's the major lesson from this story: Environment matters. When we think about creativity and innovation, we should think about more than just finding highly creative people. We should think about creating environments where many people can be candid, exhibit creativity, and drive innovation. Sometimes that means taking people out of their normal work routines. It means creating a situation where people can engage in divergent thinking and be more candid... where we are diminishing status differences and flattening the hierarchy.