A common misconception of creativity is that it requires a specific time and place to materialise. For example, a planned brainstorming session or in a design studio. Whilst these environments can be beneficial for some people, they are not the sole conductors of creativity.
Many businesses that don’t have an obvious creative function or don’t operate in a creative industry may be missing out on great opportunities, by thinking that creativity is not an essential skill required by their business.
It’s true that creativity can spawn stunning visuals, catchy stories and memorable campaigns, but it can also do so much more.
The ongoing benefits of a creative workplace
Creative thinking is a skill that all employers should look to nurture in their workforce. It is the skill that will see continuous growth of both their people and their business. Creativity breaks tradition, isn’t afraid of failure and brings life to new ideas. All of which can drive a business forward to reach new levels of success.
Creative problem solving can find a solution for what may have seemed like an impossible situation. It can seek new business opportunities, look for new ways to cut expenses or increase revenue. When applied by management, creativity can get the most out of employees and find workable solutions for a complex mix of personalities.
In addition to the direct benefits for your business, a creative working environment can also be positive for employees. Belief in their own creative ability and freedom of expression can build confidence, encourage collaboration and have a positive impact on employee retention. It can be fun and engaging!
Igniting the creative spark and keeping it alight
Some people think that they are simply not creative and allow this belief to stifle them. But anyone can be creative. Encouraging positive self-belief is a good place to start.
Committing to a creative workplace doesn’t need to break the bank or involve an interior design overhaul. A few simple changes can be easily implemented and make a lasting difference.
Make time for new ideas. When an employee comes to you with an idea, take the time to listen before providing feedback. If you agree that it is a good idea, let them know. Tell them if, how and when it could work for the business, and how they might be involved to develop their idea to fruition. If you think it could go one step further, why not challenge them to see if they can arrive at the same conclusion.
If you think that their idea is not quite right, offer constructive feedback to get them to understand why. If employees have a clear picture of wider business goals, they will be more likely to revisit the drawing board and come back to you with suitable ideas.
Think about incentives. Acknowledgements and rewards can do wonders for creative thinking. When an accolade or prize is in sight, thinking caps go on. While the best creative problem solving or project planning deserves a special mention, it’s important to recognise the effort of all those involved. By reframing rejection as redirection, you can encourage employees to keep thinking creatively and build on their ideas each week.
Find flexibility. The best ideas can happen when we least expect it. Even in the shower or the middle of the night. Whilst you can’t rearrange the working day to factor these in, you can consider flexible working schedules to encourage creative thinking. Stress can be a creativity killer, so easing the pressure through flexible working can improve work-life balance for your staff and free up some thoughts for fresh ideas.
Get to know the team. Everybody works differently. Team building and personality profiling are both great ways to get to know the various personalities working for your business. Once you know more about employees preferred working styles, both your people and business will flourish.