10 profiles you should hire to create a creative corporate culture


Did you know that innovation and creativity can be much funnier than most people think it is? In the “Ten Faces of Innovation ” book, Tom Kelley – IDEO – makes creative corporate culture thinking and innovation sound like an exciting moment. In his book, Tom Kelley convinces us that we should develop a corporate culture where people appreciate playing with ideas. At Ghost Writer Hub and in all our our projects we try to apply those principles.

You’ve probably attended to creative thinking meetings where someone needs to play the devil’s advocate for a minute. Just like that, Kelley proposes 10 roles to generate new ideas and foster creativity. At our office we either play those roles during creative meetings or represent them in real position, to change the way we innovate.

10 profiles you should hire to create a creative corporate culture

Using role playing to experiment ideas is an interesting tactic to think more and further.

The concept is the same as the 6 thinking hats of Edward de Bono. But here Tom Kelley sends the message that if you want to stay competitive, you need to change your thinking habits and work in different ways. This approach should however, not replace classical thinking.

How does it work? The process “Learning,” “Organizing” and “Building”

The 10 roles that you can adopt during your creative sessions fit into those 3 categories:

  • Learning roles: The “anthropologist,” the “experimenter” and the “cross-pollinator” observe, create models, prototypes, mockups and explore what other people have to tell.
  • Organizing roles: The “hurdler”, the “collaborator” and the “director” connect and lead people, and help to overcome challenges /problems.
  • Building roles: The “experience architect,” the “set designer,” the “caregiver” and the “storyteller” create emotional, psychological and physical environment that foster innovation.


During the session people can switch roles, you don’t needs to be stuck playing a role. You also don’t need 1 person for each role. 2 or 3 people can play 5 of the roles, for example. The process of exchanging roles itself opens people to new ideas.

The Ten Faces of Innovation

Here are the 10 roles for our creative corporate culture innovation:

1 – The Anthropologist


Anthropological immerse themselves in unknown cultures and observe them carefully. He see the world as you’ve never seen it before and observe what people do without judging them. This sort of observation is a great source of inspiration for us.

2 – The Experimenter (Growth Hacker)

This is a experiment of mixed color in a beaker.

He is like Thomas Edison, Einstein or, today, like James Dyson. He is obstinate about solving problems. He build lots of prototypes, make, and test models. He learn for the failures and start all over again, trying to find the right solution.

You don’t need high tech materials for your prototypes. You can make a prototype out of things you’ve taken from the trash. The objective is to give your ideas a shape and then, compare and improve them.

3 – The Cross-Pollinator

Cross-pollinators bring together unrelated things. He make models, knowledge and concepts from one discipline and combine them. He just need to randomly wander to get our focus out of the job. He read, meet new people and visit new places. A good way to meet new people with our team is to go out and drink a beer.

4 – The Hurdler

Businessman and overcome the difficulties concept

Hurdlers are specialized in overcoming difficulties. They treat every obstacle as an opportunity. They solve problems that others can’t cure. They may have to break the rules. They are prepared for blockages and outsides forces that want to stop you. Even experts don’t stop them from keeping going.

5 – The Collaborator

This one works well to generate connections or creative collisions. At the office we encourage teams from different disciplines to work together. We always use a mediator and keep everyone status. We also make connections with other organisation and or clients. We use these 2 unusual collaborative techniques:

  • Unfocus Groups: we bring together the most extreme, creative consumers for an unfocus group. Innovation tournaments are great exemples of groups bringing people together for innovation purposes. Here are articles explaining how they work :
  • Cross-training: we provide training in one discipline to employees in another.

6 – The Director

Orchestra conductor hands baton. Music director holding stick

Directors are planners and organizers. It’s me, but I also focus on The Anthropologist, The Experimenter and The Caregiver skills. I need a clear vision and ambition. I start new ventures and regroup people to work on them. I take risks, hire the best people and lead them. I record the good ideas and (try) to give our projects outstanding names. I’m in charge of the innovation initiatives. I develop clear goals, set the criteria for success, find resources, motivate people and create the right working climate. I want everyone speaks with honesty and without fear. I use “Creative Empowerment”  or Value Leadership to motivate my teams.

7 – The Experience Architect (UX designer or Lean Thinker)

Vector brain design template. Elements are layered separately in vector file.

Experience architects present ideas by appealing to the senses. They are fascinated by aesthetic pleasure. They use technology to provide new experiences. They focus on the five senses. They try to understand people, how they live, what they feel, taste, listen…They divide every moment in small step in order to understand them.

8 – The Set Designer

Set designers focus on making physical workspace both practical and inspiring. They check if your work space boosts creative thinking and innovation like holacratic organizations. They create this effect by arranging work tables and passages for “creative collisions”. They encourage informal talk. They provide materials for recording and communicating ideas and the results. Here is an article of companies with great set designers.

9 – The Caregiver

Statue of Mahatma Ghandi

Think of the best coach, friend or doctor you ever had. You work well with experience architects. You have the ability to put people at ease. You build a sense of shared identity that helps build brand loyalty. You want to provide the personal touch, hug and smile to you client and your team. You make people happy.

10 – The Storyteller


You forge emotional connections between your stories and the audience. You reshape classic things into something special. You create inspirational myths and allegories. Your goal is to create sense. You seek the truth and speak with an authentic voice. You work with the anthropologist, because a major part of your role is to listen. You ask open-ended questions. You take what you hear and transform it into a structured narrative. You bring teams together. You make thinks look simple. You make order out of chaos. I hope I was able to do that in this article?

Other articles: The Workplace of the Future: How Only Innovative Companies Can Keep Up

Please share this insight to inspire people to work with more passion and lead with creativity. It’s free like this ad free article. Thank you 🙂


Leave a Reply