In our previous post we discussed what stands behind creativity and innovations and why those two factors should be the driving force of your business. To recap, nowadays we all face the same situation globally where only those who dare to apply flexibility, fast thinking, and adaptation to changes stand a chance to grow and thrive. Outdated approaches of work are definitely not the key to the riddle.
We also learnt that nature intended us to be both creative and logical – skills we are entitled to since birth and its personal choice to nurture and develop. However, change always starts on an individual level. Once you overcome the fear of the unknown by diving into fieldwork, let go of the resentment of (self-) judgement, invest energy in the implementation of small, incremental steps, and embrace the fact that you cannot control the whole creative and innovative process, you are ready to initiate the change on a corporate level.
Build your creativity on an organizational level
Creativity is most welcome and productive in environments that offer inclusiveness, safety, trust, open-mindedness, and encouragement. Willingness for experimentation and curiosity can surely make it on the list as well.
Implementing creativity in the workplace, which will instigate innovation at a later stage, can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you have diverse employee skill sets. How to get the most of this situation and get your employees engaged in more creative thinking? Here are some practical guidelines:
Put together a diverse team
To move your business forward, you need a team. And the more diversified you build it, the less you might struggle with creativity and innovation. Why? Because there will be a broad range of insights, experiences, and expertise to draw on. Besides, some positive tension due to different backgrounds can be quite fruitful, because it may boost creative capacity and give birth to some of the best ideas.
Inspire members to offer individual ideas
Brainstorming has been a widely used tool for years now. As efficient as it may seem, it still might come with a substantial drawback – it provokes the generation of group ideas while it may leave behind the more reticent members of your team.
Instead of losing the opportunity of not receiving all possible ideas on a particular case, try to spend time listening to each and every employee to discuss their thoughts and refine them.
How to do it right? Give your team a specific problem and ask them all to propose a few solutions at your next meeting. Then, have an honest discussion on all advantages and disadvantages in order to take an informed and less risky decision.
Be willing to encourage constant improvement
It’s easy to use the status quo as an excuse not to move forward, right? Staying into the well-known and not getting out of your comfort zone to enter the unknown is a lot safer and less troublesome. However, as already mentioned, the subconscious mind doesn’t like change. Unless you encourage your team members to step out and risk their corporate well-being, they will not be able to fulfill tasks more easily, more quickly, or with fewer resources.
For that matter, test them out. Pick an old-fashioned and relatively easy process in your company that needs modification and ask your team for their ideas on how to reorganize it and ultimately improve it!
Learn from competition
Often creativity needs inspiration. Is your team facing an issue other companies already dealt with? Even if their problem wasn’t identical, you might well be able to learn something from how they handled it, which doesn’t mean to copy. Instead, use the knowledge as a stimulus to upgrade the solution. And why not even come up with a brand-new innovative result to answer the puzzle?
Specify your customers’ problems
Do you know what your customers are really struggling with or you just rely on regularly gathered data from the market? Now you know better than that. Send your team on a field trip; have each member talk to subcontractors and end customers to grasp their difficulties better. Getting first-hand experience is more likely to evoke creative solutions to existing or potential issues than sitting behind the desk all day long.
Then, encourage your team members to share the questions and statements that they’re gathered. A productive follow-up discussion will get you closer to what the magic of creativity and innovation can offer.
That’s exactly what happened with Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky. In 2007, they both moved to San Francisco from New York. They noticed that all hotel rooms in the city were booked, as the local Industrial Design conference took place and attracted a lot of visitors. Gebbia and Chesky discussed different options what they can do to improve the situation. As a result, they bought a few airbeds and quickly created a website “Air Bed and Breakfast.” However, it took them two years to get their first funding and start the now famous Airbnb. Obviously, innovation takes not just inspiration, but also perspiration and perseverance.
Design a creative workplace
Designing a creative workplace, it’s not only about cozy atmosphere and intriguing architecture. It’s about the whole environment the office echoes back to its users. A true culture of innovation will benefit from cultivating a general feeling of flexibility, encouragement and reward.
Of course, providing different spaces in the office to serve different purposes is necessary. For instance, defining a quiet room for concentration or a corner for brainstorming and avid discussions would be more than smart.
Innovation is now perhaps more important than ever. However, it’s usually preceded by creativity – a quality we often forget how to use after childhood.
Nurturing creativity and provoking innovation are not always bound to success, but not attempting it is even worse. Instead of waiting for the storm to pass you by, embrace the idea to walk down the road of change to see your brand where it truly belongs.
To achieve it, initiate change on an individual level by letting go of fear and getting out of your comfort zone. Become good at it and serve as a great example to the team to help your business grow bigger and stronger by the day. Just make sure to give yourself enough time, because the secret lies in getting the most of each small step you take, not racing towards the end goal at all cost.