‘Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.’, says Rollo May, the author of The Courage to Create.
If you could turn on creativity whenever you need it, like running water from a tap, then business would be a lot easier. You can’t just summon inspiration on demand. But it is possible to create an environment that fosters creativity in your team.
There’s no such thing as an uncreative person, we all have the capacity to innovate – the hard part is bringing that creative spark out in your work whether you’re a graphic designer, project manager or a system administrator.
So what can you do today to boost creativity within your team?
Reward Out-of-the-box Ideas
If you want to get employees think out-of-the-box, you need to motivate them with some form of rewards. Moreover, suggestions have to be taken seriously so that employees are willing to come up with more creative ways of improving the workplace. Otherwise, everyone will think it’s a waste of time to squeeze out creative juices for suggestions that won’t be implemented anyway.
Have large scale update meetings where employees hear about what’s going on in other departments. Encourage cross-team conversations to generate new ideas and fresh perspectives. Create areas for employees to mingle and interact with one another. Remove walls where possible and seat employees who work together closer to each other so that can discuss ideas right away.
A wide range of working styles, thought processes, and viewpoints is essential to avoid groupthink where a homogenized team loses the ability to see solutions obvious to outsiders. Innovation can only grow in a well-fertilized field. Break down information silos between teams by getting them together to exchange ideas. Bring in speakers from outside to offer alternate perspectives. The cross-fertilization that results will blossom into ideas you can profit from.
Create Space to Daydream
Colour, angles, lighting, and unexpected elements all boost creativity. Remove cubicles in favour of an open, collaborative workspace. Cover a table with butcher paper and leave out markers or crayons for people to doodle with while they eat or meet. Or, designate a few walls in a common area for people to post and share what inspires them – artwork, color schemes, humorous news headlines and other eye candy. All can be great conversation starters and even lead to new ideas that impact the company’s bottom line.
When work is combined with play, innovative solutions are most likely to occur. Having boxes of toys available during meetings can help to diffuse tension, prompt conversation, and spark creativity. Sharing funny YouTube videos or inspiring TED talks can also harness creative thought. Another way not only to have some fun but also get employees moving is to do a daily 3pm dance. 3pm is right after lunch when the groggy feeling starts to hit everyone – the perfect time for a one-minute dance.
Progress doesn’t come from following the same old routines over and over – it’s a result of innovation and imagination. By taking proactive steps to manage the efforts of your team to think more creatively, you’re helping them take advantage of their highest potential. In addition to coming up with new ideas, your employees will feel more engaged and motivated, which is perhaps the biggest business benefit of all.