Whether it is the HP ink jet printer or the writing of “To Kill a Mockingbird” the role of the patron–the provider of resources–is often key in the creative process. We can identify the role of creativity patron ( I call this person the “Wanderer” in my book Creative Intelligence) today among angel investors and VCs in our tech startup economy but they are everywhere, from the Medicis in Florence to the people who financed a year in the life of the writer who had the time to write To Kill A Mockingbird.
Leadership in the creative process is a poorly understood social phenomenon. It isn’t taught in engineering, business or design schools. But it is a key element of success in innovation and creativity. The amazing success of Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard in the early years of HP had a lot to do with their management style–Managing by Waling Around. They walked around the many labs, curated the science and technology advancements being made in them, and choose which to nurture.
Of course, Kickstarter shows that we can now crowd source the curating and resourcing of creativity and innovation. Each one of us can now play the role of Hewlett and Packard.
This ability to curate and nurture creativity is at the heart of successful startups and breakthrough art and music. It is probably the most important leadership quality we need today.