Sunday, 26 August 2018 07:13

How to Foster Creativity within Your Organization Featured

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There are several smaller steps leaders can take to make a big change on their organization. Here are five ways you can foster creativity within your own team:

1. Reward Creativity

Not every idea will be a success, but big breakthroughs won’t occur if the company plays it safe. Executives need to be comfortable with failure, and give employees the freedom and flexibility to experiment with and explore new opportunities.

Global conglomerate Tata gives out a “Dare to Try” award to employees with the “most novel, daring, and seriously attempted ideas that did not achieve the desired results,” while Google’s innovation lab, X, offers bonuses to each team member who worked on a project the company ultimately decided to kill as soon as evidence suggested it wouldn’t scale.

Companies that reward creativity show they value it, inspiring individuals within the organization to pursue untested theories and concepts.

2. Hire the Right People

The “right” people in this context aren’t solely creatives. Organizations should instead focus on diversity, bringing in a variety of viewpoints, cultural backgrounds, and skill sets. Tom Kelley, partner at global design firm IDEO, established “The Ten Faces of Innovation,” describing how each type of person—such as “The Hurdler,” who tackles problem-solving head-on, or “The Caregiver,” who works to understand and form relationships with each individual customer—adds to the overall creativeness of a project.

“Not everyone is going to be creative, but most people can learn the tools and techniques for being innovative,” Marion says. “It helps to look at things from a different vantage point.”

It is also worth considering building an innovation team within your organization, whose role is to tap into creative energies to develop new products, services, or processes within an organization.

3. Try the “Yes, And…” Approach

One method for spurring creative brainstorming is trying a technique used in improvisational theater: “Yes, and…” The approach encourages colleagues to build off their peers’ thoughts by first agreeing and then adding something to the discussion. Taking “no” off the table ensures all ideas are heard.

Employees could test this approach by simply putting a paperclip in the middle of the table and thinking up as many use cases for it as possible. The activity might sound silly, but it could help inspire creativity.

4. Try Flexible Work Hours

Not everyone is suited for the traditional nine-to-five schedule. Offering flexible arrangements, such as the ability to work from home, is known to make employees healthier, happier, and more productive. As long as employees are clear about expectations, complete their work on time, and coordinate appropriately with their team, it’s an easy strategy to test and enables everyone to work when they’re feeling most creative, as opposed to a set time during the day.

5. Give Employees Time to Recharge

With creativity can also come burnout. Employees need time to step back and hit the refresh button.

“Companies do need to take burnout into consideration,” Marion says, “and maybe take some time between projects or offer sabbaticals to recharge their employees.”

The only thing companies can’t do is ignore creativity altogether, or hope the problem will solve itself. Creativity needs to be prioritized—and for good reason, reminds Marion.

“Creativity lends itself to unique solutions to problems,” he says, “and to unique features on products, or unique business models and sources of revenue.”

Who can argue with those benefits?

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