Creativity is often seen as the exclusive realm of artists and writers with little relevance in world of business.
Yet research shows that companies that foster creativity are 3.5 times more likely to achieve revenue growth of 10% or more and attain a more commanding market position than their peers.
Added to this, research by IBM shows that 60 percent of CEOs said they felt creativity was the most important leadership skill, ranking higher than both integrity and global thinking.
So if creativity is so important, it’s staggering to read in a study by Adobe that only 25 percent of respondents felt they were living up to their creative potential. Whereas 75 percent of global respondents felt that they were under more pressure to be productive in their job rather than creative.
SO, HOW CAN ORGANIZATIONS BUILD CREATIVITY AND REAP THE BENEFITS?
1. Make space and listen.
As Alex Osbourne said, “creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom while discouragement often nips it in the bud”. Find the time and space to let creativity flourish by giving everyone the chance to be creative within their job or by allocating them a project outside of their daily duties. Then, once the ideas start flowing, really listen to each and every one so that people feel heard, valued and remain motivated to keep sharing.
People repeatedly say they’re at their most creative when in inspiring environments. For some people this comes when watching the sunrise over a beautiful beach or playing with your child at the park. Although hard to facilitate these experiences on a daily basis, organisations benefit from finding ways that these sentiments can be nurtured in the workplace.
Forbes showcased a number of office environments that tried to do just this including installing a slide at one of the Google offices or a bowling alley at one of the Infosys offices.
Rest assured you don’t have to go as far as Google and simple things can make a big difference. Make good use of the space you have to provide people with inspiring areas away from their desks. Consider scattering the walls with inspiring pictures or quotes, have coloured felt tips and giant paper and boards positioned around the office and encourage people to get out of the office from time to time.
3. Take time out.
Research illustrates that taking time out of work helps to revitalise us and immersion in new places and experiences can lead to more original ideas and insights.
Encourage people to take their vacation, step away from their desk at lunch breaks and pace their work throughout the day. Make breaks part of the culture by offering lunchtime activities such as yoga or a book club.
4. Make mistakes acceptable.
One of the greatest enemies of creativity is the fear of failure and judgement. Many businesses are risk adverse to the extreme, which quashes creativity and prevents people and organisations from fulfilling their potential.
Ron Friedman, in his book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, shows that the freedom to try many different solutions without fear of retribution is what allows the best solutions to emerge. Build this into your culture and watch the ideas flow.
5. Mix it up.
Rather than following the same practices day in day out, mix it up. Give people the opportunity to spend time in other roles and ask for their ideas with this fresh eyes perspective. Ask a few people from different departments of different levels to work together to solve a problem or come up with a new way of doing something. Don’t cram these type of things in on top of business as usual but create space to make creativity flow.
When you create the right culture and environment for creativity to thrive not only are employees more fulfilled and engaged but organisations fulfill their potential in ways never imagined to be possible.
FURTHER RESOURCES FOR YOU.
To support your creativity: Mindful Minutes.
Included within this box are more than 30 suggestions of how you can bring your attention back to the present moment, enhance your creativity and sharpen your focus.. Each suggestion to be completed in 5 minutes or less. Learn more.
For further reading.