Creativity is key and businesses that recognise this are often more likely to conquer a marketplace or even change the face of it entirely. An ability to differentiate yourself from the competition, be it through products or branding, can often make the difference between a business staying relevant or becoming obsolete. When technology is changing faster than ever and the ways in which people live their lives are also changing, it’s never been more important to ensure your business is thinking beyond the obvious.
It’s not just about survival though, promoting creativity in the workplace can positively affect many areas within your business. From growing morale to making things more efficient or even finding new talent within your team. You never know, with the right idea you may even change the world! Although It sounds unlikely (and it is), you only have to look at businesses like Uber and Airbnb, who turned the travel and tourism industries on their head, to appreciate how just one idea can make a big difference.
To ensure you aren’t missing out on your eureka moment, we’ve put together 5 tips to start building your new creative culture:
‘If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve got’
So in a nutshell, if you want big new ideas and exciting results then you need to make some big changes to how you do things. Saying that you want creativity and actually creating a culture that supports it are two very different things. Many businesses are so regimented and stuck in their ways that there is often little room or incentive for anyone to bring new ideas to the table. Often it may be the long-term members of staff that get in the way of this too, with a ‘that’s not how we do things here’ attitude. Your first job is to change that!
Innovative companies like Google give staff 20% time to get creative, that’s 1 full day a week to work on side projects and new ideas. Although that may be a bit extreme for your business, having time dedicated to creativity shows how devoted you are to change. You also need to back this up with communicating to your teams that you expect them to bring new ideas to the table and that you or your senior team will take the time to listen to them all and bring the best ones to fruition.
You’ve now got a culture that gives people the support they need to get creative, now let’s persuade your team to take part. Often people are incentivised by different things and it’s not all about the cash you put in their bank. Most people enjoy recognition or new opportunities within the workplace. So why not create a scheme that allows people to be publicly recognised in the business? Where the best new ideas are celebrated and commended. You should also give people the chance to be involved with the implementation of their new ideas where possible. You don’t want people to feel like they have ran a marathon, only for someone else to cross the finish line instead.
Diversity promotes creativity
The world is full of interesting and unique people, each with their own set of experiences, beliefs and skills. Harnessing these differences gives you the best chance of creating new ideas. When you put different people together, their individual ways of thinking can often lead to interesting results. It’s through debates, challenging each others ideas and sharing experiences that well thought out solutions are formed. Having a team of people who all think the same, means you may end up with a group of people all suggesting the same thing and not challenging each other. Therefore not necessarily challenging the ideas to ensure they are good ones. Tackle this by ensuring you promote diversity within your business and hire people from a range of backgrounds.
Build creative teams
Why not create an innovation task force? Put together a group of diverse characters from a number of departments and set them the task of solving a problem or improving a process. This could be anything from ‘how do we onboard new clients?’ to ‘how do we make sure our staff are fulfilled?’. It’s often the people on the ground that have the best suggestions on how to improve things so make sure you include people from all levels, with everyone offered equal time in the spotlight.
Tailor your creativity channels
What does Mark Zuckerberg, Steven Spielberg and JK Rowling all have in common? Well, apart from being extremely successful in their fields of course. The answer, they are all famously introverted! They like to think, work and relax in their own company and that’s where they have had their best ideas. Extroverts get their energy from being with other people and enjoy being around large groups. So, activities such as brainstorming sessions and large creative meetings will be right up their street. As the list above proves however, you shouldn’t underestimate the creative power of the quiet introvert, so offering alternative methods of developing ideas, such as lone creativity time, can ensure you are getting the best out of every member of the team, whatever their personality.