In today’s world, where economic success is hard-earned, fresh ideas, innovation, and creative thinking are a major source of currency in the marketplace; indeed, creativity itself is the most decisive way for a company to differentiate itself from competitors. Some of the most successful companies have been able to find their niche through creativity and innovation. Innovation today means much more than technology or new products; it has more to do with finding new untapped business markets or processes (think Facebook). Creativity is the ability to combine ideas that seem unrelated to make new (and interesting) associations.
Take Apple, for instance. Apple Computers has been consistently ahead of its competitors by focusing on creative ways to promote technology. Now, we (as consumers) rely on Apple’s cutting edge innovation and creative genius. Apple’s popularity is growing; owning a Mac or an iPad has become a status symbol — a statement. Creativity, from hardware to marketing, along with smart positioning, has certainly paid off for Apple as well as for many other successful companies.
This begs the question: How can you harness creativity from your team in a work environment? Read on to discover eight tips that foster team creativity in the workplace.
Foster a supportive environment that encourages creative thinking and innovation.
Ask your team to always come to you with creative ideas and solutions, whether the idea entails a more efficient process, a marketing strategy, a way to make things easier or better for customers, or a new product or service offering. Make it known that all ideas, written or verbal, will be considered, encouraged and rewarded.
Schedule brainstorming sessions with your team to map out problems or constraints.
Creativity usually follows a non-linear process of associations and speculations, so try diagrams, flow charts, story boards, etc. Encourage all team members to contribute to possible solutions and capture all ideas.
Bring in outside instigators.
Invite visitors who can provide fresh perspectives and solutions, so utilize this resource. Hire speakers or coaches that inspire creativity and spark new ideas.
Question long-held beliefs, especially those that come from habit or fear of change.
Question entire processes from start to finish without making any assumptions. Start with an open mind full of curiosity and lacking in ego, absolutes, or cynicism.
Reward innovative thinking and diversity, whether it produces results or not.
This can be a formal or informal system of bonuses, recognition, praise, acknowledgement or advancement for contributors.
Capture and document ideas, no matter how out-of-the-box they are. Make sure that ideas that are utilized are accurately attributed.
No one has a monopoly on innovation.
Know that creativity can arise from any source; it is a talent anyone can nurture. Brilliant ideas can come from anyone in your organization.
Let the challenge inspire you to greater heights. Enjoy the journey down the creative path, finding ways to do things faster, better, or with fewer resources.
Creativity is one of the key components for companies who want to be successful, so harnessing creative thinking is therefore crucial. Nurturing innovation can make all the difference in a marketplace full of competition.