Creative thinking and creative disruption are laudable goals. They entail forcing teams to think differently about the work, their process, and their mindsets. But how can you create new ways of working together while maintaining the velocity of work?

Consider volunteering for innovation.

At Salesforce, philanthropy is a huge part of who we are. We pride ourselves on the many opportunities we have to give back to our community. For example, a cherished company benefit is VTO – every employee is given “Volunteer Days Off” to use in whatever ways they see fit. For many teams, VTO is an opportunity for team-building and shared experience. Salesforce groups regularly clean beaches, sort food in community food banks and participate in myriad other causes.

In our team, we look for ways to leverage our unique creative and marketing skills to benefit deserving non-profits. Earlier this year, we worked with Futures Without Violence, a phenomenal group dedicated to reducing abuse and violence in homes and communities. We brought in a multi-disciplinary team of designers, writers, user experience experts, front-end developers, project managers and technologists together for a full day devoted to solving many of their problems. We broke the teams into discreet units to rethink their web site, assess their database issues, and improve their campaigns.

Group volunteerism affords a forward-looking organization the opportunity to stretch themselves and think about problems in new ways. It allows individual teams to work together in new combinations from the workplace. Have the social media and paid teams never worked together? Put them both on the task of driving donations from new contributors. Are you locked into a waterfall methodology? Try agile creative development for a day. Often times, necessity truly is the mother of innovation.

The benefits of creative disruption can occur in these micro-moments. Teams think differently. They solve new problems and work together in new ways. And they do this without the constraints of the current business. As you think about new ways to work and innovative ways to bring new ideas to your organization, consider giving back to the community as a way of putting creative disruption into practice.

J.D. Swartz
Vice President and General Manager of the Creative and Digital Group at Salesforce
San Jose xCHANGE – Keynote Speaker