The Connection Between Creativity, Leadership & Jazz with Josh Linkner

Apr 1, 2024

Unlock your employees’ potential by harnessing their greatest asset: creativity!


In a world where creativity is thought to be only for a chosen few, Josh Linkner emphasizes that everyone is inherently creative. They just need a way to unleash it in their everyday work to generate revenue-fueling innovation.


Josh Linkner is far from your average entrepreneur. Alongside his successes as a bestselling author and the founder of five tech companies, which have created over 10,000 jobs and generated over $200 million, Linkner is also an acclaimed Jazz musician. His deep-rooted passion for jazz not only sets him apart but also serves as a catalyst for his desire to help fellow business leaders tap into their creative potential.


His unique approach toward innovation highlights the power of creative thinking and the importance of embracing a growth mindset in leadership.


Creativity Beyond Borders


Creativity knows no boundaries, and Josh ardently champions the notion that “innovation doesn’t require a lab coat.” Dispelling the misconception that creativity solely resides within R&D departments, he emphasizes its universal presence.


With 90% of creative breakthroughs originating beyond conventional silos, he advocates for leaders to tap into the innate imaginative capabilities within each team member.


  • Action Step: Encourage team members to share one creative idea each week, no matter how small. To alleviate some of the pressure of sharing new ideas to a group, create a suggestion box or online form, and discuss the ideas in a dedicated session or team meeting. This practice nurtures a creativity-friendly culture and demonstrates that everyone’s input is valued.


The Jazz of Business


Drawing parallels between jazz and business, Josh highlights the importance of improvisation in business.


“In jazz, as in business, it’s about making magic in the moment.” This philosophy champions adaptability and spontaneous collaboration, urging leaders to foster environments where team members feel empowered to be creative in real-time.


  • Action Step: Host regular “jam sessions” where team members can collaborate on projects outside their usual scope. These sessions should be judgment-free zones, dedicated to freeform brainstorming and creative problem-solving, mirroring the spontaneous and adaptive nature of jazz improvisation. Allow people to break off into small groups with one another to really dive into topics that interest them. Provide them with tools such as whiteboards, sticky notes, marker pens, and digital collaboration platforms for virtual brainstorming to capture and develop ideas.


Embracing Failure as a Prelude to Success


Josh also redefines failure, choosing to view it not as a setback but as an essential step toward innovation. He shares that the most successful entrepreneurs perceive mistakes as valuable learning opportunities. This fosters a culture where calculated risks are not just permitted but celebrated, inevitably improving the organization as a whole.


  • Action Step: Introduce “F-Up Fridays” or a similar initiative in your organization, creating a dedicated time each week where team members openly share about their mistakes and what they learned. This practice encourages a shift in perspective, viewing mistakes as valuable lessons rather than failures. To enhance this experience, provide a supportive framework such as a structured sharing format, recognition for the most insightful learnings, and follow-up actions to apply those lessons.


Josh Linkner believes that it is in our nature as human beings to be creative and that the single biggest roadblock to creativity is fear. If leaders can create an environment where everyone feels safe, their team’s creativity will flourish.


He is on a mission to help people unlock their dormant creative capacity to make the world a better place because he “really believes we can all be artists.”


Josh also shares…

  • The significance of incorporating daily creative rituals to maintain an innovative mindset.
  • How a “test and learn” approach can lead to breakthrough innovations.
  • The power of a growth mindset in transforming challenges into opportunities.


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