The importance of creativity at work

The cornerstones of productivity are staying organized, mission-focused, and efficient. But staying creative shouldn’t come at the expense of these pillars. On the contrary, creativity is becoming an increasingly valuable asset in the workplace, for both individuals and teams.

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Additionally, the World Economic Forum states that creativity is or is linked to nine of the ten skills that will define the world in 2020 and beyond. In addition to increasing trust and collaboration, being creative increases problem-solving skills.

But that’s not all. In business, creativity has the following advantages.

This goes hand in hand with innovation.

Innovation requires two ingredients: novelty and utility. Unfortunately, despite the importance of creativity in generating unique and original ideas, they are not always practical. Creative solutions, however, are essential for innovative solutions.

Leads to productivity.

Creativity promotes productivity as long as the work environment allows them to coexist. As a result, creativity can lead to productivity in the following ways:

  • Prevents getting stuck in a rut. There is nothing wrong with routines. However, sometimes you have to shake things up and get out of your comfort zone. This will expose you to new ideas and perspectives.
  • Solves bigger problems. You and employees will be able to see the big picture and focus their energy on issues that have a significant impact on the business when creative thinking is encouraged. When employees can apply these efforts to larger problems rather than just producing work, they are more productive and the business prospers.
  • When employees are encouraged to be creative, their workplaces will be changed for the better. Motivation comes from empowering people to make a tangible and visible difference in their workplace. You don’t want to feel like a drone, mindlessly carrying out tasks with no apparent impact on your life.
  • People get emotionally involved in it. Quite simply, work without passion is tedious, especially for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Some people, however, need a little more motivation to spark that passion at work. Participating in the creative process empowers workers, regardless of department or role.
  • By fostering creativity, failure becomes less likely. People need the freedom to fail if they want to foster a creative environment. Creative environments that fear failure are paralyzed and impede the flow of ideas. Because of fear, we tend to think outside the box, which prevents us from identifying new, more efficient ways of working, improving processes, streamlining operations, and creating new products.

Provides adaptability.

It may not always be necessary to adjust your business model when you are meeting challenges creatively. For example, to improve the efficiency of your operations, you can develop new products or services. However, don’t dismiss an idea because it doesn’t match the scale of a problem.

Business is an ever-changing world, and adapting to it requires creative solutions.

Growth depends on it.

The idea that there is only one way to approach or interpret a situation or a challenge is one of the main obstacles to the growth of a company.

It is easy to fall into cognitive fixity because it can be tempting to approach every situation the same way as in the past. However, there are differences between each situation.

Business leaders can stagnate if they don’t take the time to understand the circumstances they face, foster creative thinking, and act on the results.

Competence is in demand.

Major industries like healthcare and manufacturing value creativity and innovation. This is mainly due to the complexity of the challenges that each industry faces.

How to encourage creativity at work

So we know creativity is key. But, how exactly can you encourage it in the workplace?

1. Plan opportunities for creative thinking.

“Creative thinking can often get overlooked if it doesn’t get time on our calendars,” writes Nathan Rawlins in CIO. “There will always be more meetings and to-do items to tick off our lists, so it’s important to set aside time for creative pursuits.”

For example, hackathons have resulted in significant updates to our product offerings. In two to three days, teams spend a lot of time thinking creatively, collaborating, and testing ideas outside of the box. “The results are fantastic features that add value to both the product and the business,” adds Rawlins. “Furthermore, these events boost morale and demonstrate our commitment to creativity and innovation.”

2. Instill autonomy.

Increased responsibility and autonomy will likely lead to more ideas being generated, as well as a greater sense of pride and confidence in your team’s skills.

Basically, it could allow your team to work the way they want, instead of micromanaging. Specifically, you let your team choose the agenda in a one-on-one meeting.

3. Set up flexible working hours.

Consider offering flexible hours or work from home for specific roles that only require an internet connection. When employees work from home, they can think more clearly, come up with more innovative ideas, and reduce their stress levels.

Set clear expectations and guidelines to ensure consistent productivity at home. And plan a flexible schedule that suits managers and their teams and the demands of the business.

4. Don’t worry about “how”.

“Leaders unknowingly weaken their team’s creativity by focusing too early on implementation,” says Lisa Guice, Lisa Guice Global-Vision, LLC. “The fastest way to kill the creative process is to require your team to produce tactical solutions in tandem with creative ideas.”

This not only stifles the creative flow, but also transforms the work environment into a “produce while editing” mindset, resulting in less individual input. »

5. Decompartmentalize your organization.

For innovative teamwork to take place, it is essential to create a collaborative and social environment. Managers will notice a significant difference when they take steps to “break down the silos” in their organizations.

In addition to working on their own projects, employees can interact with colleagues from other departments and learn more about the company. As a result, ideas and inspiration will flow freely through all departments, sparking creativity.

Plus, humor is great for team building, inclusivity, and creativity.

What if you have a mostly remote or hybrid team? You might want to set up a Slack or similar chat channel called “water cooler”. By doing so, your employees can participate in friendly banter in the office. Or, at the end of your team meetings, schedule time for everyone to discuss their plans for the weekend.

Play creates a sense of belonging and security, inspiring creativity.

6. Walk.

As far as new thought is concerned, walking is one of the oldest and most effective sources. “Walking meetings” were a popular method used by Steve Jobs to foster connection and creativity with colleagues and collaborators.

Additionally, Harvard Medical School researchers found that walking meetings improved creativity by 5.25% and engagement by 8.5%. Stanford University researchers also found that walking increased creative thinking by 60%. Movement itself energizes the brain, no matter how long or where it takes place.

7. Don’t let good ideas go to waste.

Incentives should be provided to encourage employees to share their ideas. One suggestion is to implement the best ideas and recognize the efforts of others. To let the employee know that you plan to implement their ideas, I suggest that you personalize your message. Finally, if the change is successful, let the team know the inspiration behind it.

To foster innovation, it is important to publicly address and recommend good ideas. As a result, team members feel more inspired to share their ideas and opinions.

8. Encourage self-reflection.

You will find that your employees become absorbed in their work and forget the importance of what they are doing when the workload increases. To combat this, make self-reflection recordings a habit for employees. By doing this exercise, they are inspired to see things from a different perspective, both in terms of what they have achieved and what lies ahead.

Your team can also see the concrete results of their hard work and innovative solutions by sharing monthly or quarterly achievements.

9. Allow failure.

When you ask your employees to show off their creativity, make sure they know you don’t expect perfection or polished work. To be able to take risks without negative consequences, staff members must be allowed to make plans that go wrong. The ability to fail wisely is a valuable skill for managers and businesses.

“Once [employees] see, first-hand, the value of releasing what we call a “low-res prototype” and getting feedback from a key constituent, and seeing how that direct[s] the next step, people start to believe in this process,” says Graham Henshaw, executive director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, on the W&M Leadership and Business podcast. “[Innovators must have] an openness to risk… You are willing to take risks where you might fail, but you learn something from that failure and move on,” he continued, emphasizing, “[You need] a tolerance for ambiguity… You retain this need for immediate closure.

10. Set the tone for risk taking.

Most professionals believe that their firms and departments do not take enough risks. However, risk is essential to boosting your company’s competitive advantage and encouraging creativity.

Where appropriate, empower employees to make bold decisions and challenge them to take calculated risks instead of micromanaging them.

Image Credit: Photo by Shukhrat Umarov; pexels; Thanks!

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