Thing 9: How do creativity and innovation feature in my leadership?


In Thing 9 you will explore creativity and innovation and what they look like in leadership practice. Think about what has helped you (or stopped you) ‘thinking out of the box’ and how you have supported others to do the same.

Open Badge information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Leadership – Thing 9: Creative and innovative leadership

You may find it helpful to complete Things 1-4 before starting Thing 9.


In your day-to-day practice you may find you are in a good position to see how things could be done differently and better. Being creative and innovative doesn’t have to mean coming up with grand schemes that will transform the service. Small changes can have a big impact on the lives of the people you support.

Creativity and innovation may involve:

  • Questioning and challenging the established way of doing things
  • Researching possible solutions
  • Being willing to try things out yourself as well as encouraging colleagues to do so
  • Taking appropriate risks, with the support of your organisation
  • Encouraging people who use your service or your colleagues to think differently or try out new approaches
  • Working creatively across service or organisational boundaries in the best interests of the person using your service
  • Focusing on desired outcomes, rather than prescribing how these should be achieved
  • Creating an organisational culture which encourages everyone to think differently, be receptive to change and try out new or better ways of doing things


Realising the ambition talks about creativity and how it is about much more than expressive arts, it is the ability to wonder about things, to see them or use them differently. Creativity is vital for all learning and leadership.  Think about the creativity involved in the everyday problems we face. Consider the pace of change in our world and how we need to ensure our children are equipped with the right skills for their future.  The foundations are built from a child’s earliest years.

Creativity is crucial within science, technology, engineering and mathematical learning (STEM).  It is also essential to language and literacy development.

Embracing the concept of leadership for all

  • Making leadership accessible to all staff
  • Using communication tools to bring the leadership capabilities to life in everyday practice
  • Embedding leadership development in supervision, using an outcomes star for staff to evaluate and chart their own leadership development
  • Developing a recognition and reward system
  • Incentivising progress for individuals
  • Enabling of care staff to exercise “autonomy, trust, passion and safe risks” to the benefit of customers.

1. Recent research, Enabling leadership, identified what good leadership looks like in Scotland’s social services. The research proposed a theory of change and logic model. If you look at the Leadership Logic Model you will see that there are descriptors under the headings for:

  • What do good leaders need?
  • What do good leaders bring?
  • What do good leaders do?
  • How do good leaders engage?

Many of these characteristics, behaviours and attitudes are essential elements for exercising creativity and innovation in your own leadership.

2. Now, reflecting on your own experience and practice:

Think about a situation when you have needed to find a different way of doing things to achieve a desired outcome. For example, this might be using your and others’ creativity and innovation in:

    • revising a personal plan for which a child’s needs or priorities have changed significantly
    • a service development for which a new mix of knowledge and skills was required and a different team structure
    • changing the way supervision is designed and delivered in your service or team
    • putting personal outcomes for children, young people, their families or carers at the heart of your own and others’ practice.

3. Look again at the Leadership Logic Model.  Apply it to your own example of creative and innovative practice. In particular consider:

  • What do good leaders need? … How did your work environment support you to make changes … or how did you support others to use their creativity to achieve desired change?
  • What do good leaders bring? … What attitudes and qualities did you display in meeting a need for change?
  • What do good leaders do? … What leadership behaviours did you demonstrate?
  • How do good leaders engage? … How did you go about working with others to achieve change?
  • How do people respond? … How did people respond to the way you involved them in creating change?

4. Drawing on the example you thought about in step 2, write a statement (minimum 200 words) on what you have learned about the power of creativity and innovation in leadership. This should include reflection on how your own practice and leadership behaviours have been creative and have helped to achieve favourable change.

You can provide the statement on the Open Badge application form or provide a link to your own *blog/portfolio. You may find it helpful to look at Recording Your Learning and Reflecting on Leadership.

*If you want to use a blog or ePortfolio entry as evidence, you might find our guide to preparing and publishing your evidence useful.

Click here to access helpful resources for Thing 9