Creativity can be an ethereal thing. Some of us claim to be creative, others say they’re just not creative people, whilst others say it’s something that comes and goes. Whatever your relationship is with the muse, we can all agree that thriving companies are highly reliant on the creativity of their people. Creativity is involved in so many more aspects of business than those areas traditionally thought of as creative, like advertising, spilling over into product design, innovation, and problem-solving. With this being the case, it is important to encourage and foster creativity in your company. Here are a few ways to do so:
Provide a Forum and Safe Space
Sometimes getting creative requires creating a forum for people to voice their thoughts, musings, and opinions. When we gather into groups there is a natural energy that occurs wherein we’re spurred on by our fellow man. Forums can be a great way to energize employees and encourage constructive and creative discourse. To get the most out of our employees it’s best to create a safe space for sharing, where employees feel they won’t be subjected to ridicule or viewed negatively for their ideas. This can mean soliciting ideas openly or through more private or anonymous means. Consider creating an idea bank where employees can deposit their ideas either with their names tied to them or incognito.
While play is something that we humans seem to get worse at as we grow older, it’s still a valuable tool in achieving creative energy. Play helps us get into the present moment and lose our inhibitions, which sometimes stifle our ability to think outside the box. When you’re constantly aware of your title, or job role, or company culture, it puts filters on how you view the world when you’re at work. By encouraging employees to play, it enables them to break down these implied barriers and frameworks. Play can be something as simple as a quick lunchtime team building activity, or a facilitated event with various fun challenges.
Bring Together Groups from Different Backgrounds
Diversity is key for ramping up creativity in groups. Having people with different backgrounds and even different roles in a company come together can create a special kind of cross-pollination which can result in really unique ideas. A developer might have a key insight for a sales team based on past experience, or perhaps someone who used to work in a different industry might have advice regarding a customer in that sector. Not only does this intermixing spur creativity, it can also help to break down silos in the workplace which can stifle information flow, which is essential for effective decision making.
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