“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Edwin Land Jake watched his teammates go back and forth over how to solve their latest challenge with the new system. He was fairly confident that he had an approach that would work. He felt conflicted. Part of him wanted to bring up his approach and talk it through with the team. The right people were sitting together to help him try to walk through his concept. The other part of him was hesitant. He knew his idea was unconventional. It did not violate any rules or regulations. It was simply different. The proverbial ‘out of the box’ thinking. Just last week one of his teammates had suggested a creative approach to a problem and before anyone else could comment on it, she had been silenced by their project manager who looked at her and in a very condescending tone of voice said, “That idea is pure fantasy.” Jake did not feel like being on the receiving end of a similar comment. Jake waited for the meeting to end. Then he contacted a few of his teammates and asked them to join him for lunch. He warned them that it would be a working lunch and that he wanted to share an idea with them. At the local sandwich shop Jake shared his idea and asked them to help him think it through. None of them asked him why he did not bring up the idea in the meeting. In fact, after deciding that his idea would most likely work, the conversation turned toward how they could get the project manager to pay attention without shooting the idea down because it was new and different and creative. They almost gave up. Eventually they came up with a plan to test the idea and hold a demonstration of exactly how it would work. Look at all of the extra time and energy that Jake and his teammates spent. It would have been more efficient if Jake had felt that it was OK to express creative ideas in front of his project manager. The right people were together in the meeting in order to brainstorm and discuss his idea. His idea could have prompted others in the room to add to it or to come up with other creative alternatives. Some of those ideas would absolutely not go anywhere beyond the conference room. But a few of those ideas would have led to better and more efficient solutions. Of course the good news is that Jake found a way to move forward with his idea. We will never know how many other good ideas simply died because of a project manager who did not appreciate or encourage creativity.