Being innovative, questioning what might be and pushing the frontiers for acrylic in Asia and the world beyond are nothing new for the Lucite International team in China (LICC). However, a recent ‘Leader’s Path for Innovation’ workshop held in Shanghai’s Congming suburb took the potential for team creativity to a whole new level. This novel session brought about some transformational thinking and a plan for change in the Company’s approach.

Role playing and games were all part of the learning experience for the LICC team.

The LICC team decided to engage the support of expert consultants to help shape the two-day workshop. A first key step for the group of 24 participants from LICC Shanghai, Beijing, the Caojing plant and Lucite China Trading Company was to arrive at a universally understood meaning of the word ‘innovation’.

Angela Zhang who attended the workshop explained: “We talked about the nature of innovation and how to stimulate inner passion for things that are interesting, new and different. We looked at breaking down limitations and boundaries to make way for new behaviors and more effective collaboration. The open, friendly atmosphere meant that we could learn a lot and progress as individuals, and as a group through playing games, using questionnaire surveys, and through making, and listening to presentations that conveyed all kinds of messages and perspectives. We also recognized the power of showing gratitude to make our efforts feel more appreciated.”

Mount Huang talks through his creation.

During the workshop the group brainstormed the opportunities for developing acrylic in western China and worked together to build the idea of an ‘acrylic family’ – in effect, a world of possibilities for one of the world’s most loved materials.

Angela continued: “At first, everyone was a bit nervous but as the workshop progressed they started to open up and were more confident in sharing ideas with the group. In fact, the real lessons of innovative leadership emerged while everyone was focused on giving their energies to the workshop, which was fantastic. What impressed me most was seeing everyone drop their guard and break down their own barriers.”

The LICC team creating designs for an amusement park using acrylic.

“What they all learnt was that innovation is not impossible – if you have the inner passion and a sense of belief then anything is possible. Since the work shop we’ve continued the journey and are keeping the key messages alive mainly by using fun techniques to reinforce the right behaviors. We’ve experimented in painting portraits of one another to see ourselves in others’ eyes, we’ve been sharing a hug to show our appreciation, and more besides. To build on this, every year we will set up one or two workshops as part of our in-house training schedule. The workshops will be defined by specific staff needs and to meet the Company’s business requirement. Innovation is always a key topic in acrylic application development.”