When it comes to brainstorming and creative teams, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com says to keep them small. Usually, when I’m involved in creative meetings with clients, most organizations want 20-30 people in meetings and that’s just too large and unproductive a group to work. With a smaller group of key people, you don’t waste a lot of time and man hours on bad ideas. Plus, like a herd of cats, large creative teams are simply too unwieldy to manage well. Small groups move faster and are more nimble. The perfect number?
Bezos thinks a group small enough to be fed off two pizzas is perfect.
Bezos also likes to create what he calls a “culture of divine discontent.” That’s the feeling at an organization that anything can be improved, anytime. Nothing is perfect and everyone is always looking for a better way. It reminded me of the Japanese word “Kaizen,” which means continuous improvement. Every second, every minute, every day, we can be more innovative and creative.
The lesson? Stop thinking you need to have everyone in the room. Look for creative leaders – not every employee in the building. Build a small creative team you trust, has the right chemistry, and you can depend on. And then watch what happens.