No matter what industry or field your company specializes in, the factor that most often determines success is a company’s ability to promote and embrace creativity. But how does one person inspire creativity in an organization of dozens, or possibly hundreds?
Clearly, creativity is not just stream of consciousness that can be tapped on demand — or can it? Are there, in fact, techniques that can be employed to get the creative juices of a company’s employees flowing more freely? How have companies that thrive on creativity, ingenuity and originality managed to do so, and how can you apply these techniques?
The office environment
Most people only feel creative when they aren’t pressured to be. This can mean that ordinary managerial encouragements like deadlines will actually make creativity suffer rather than thrive. One solution being employed by many companies around the world is to design an office environment that is fun and engaging for employees to be in. Some companies have accomplished this through the addition of more natural elements like plants, trees and even grass, making their office spaces dynamic, relaxing and ultimately conducive to creative thinking. Others have done so by redesigning to simply make the space brighter, as studies have shown that natural light can often encourage people to be much more creative.
Reinvigorate the company culture
Office culture can be an ambiguous term, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a crucial role in fostering creativity. Many modern companies have found that traditional, rigidly structured workplace boundaries are so predictable and familiar to employees that they can disrupt creativity. To solve this, many companies have employed a wide variety of progressive solutions that effectively alter the way their employees feel about work, thus tricking the mind into a more relaxed, creative state.
- Allow your employees to spread out in the office and create a space that they find comfortable.
- Create a positive working environment and encourage team activities and retreats every once in a while.
- Resist the urge to micromanage. Set deadlines and allow employees to work toward them at their own pace.
- Maximize employee freedom at all times. Try to encourage creativity by getting rid of needless rules or guidelines.
The best way to encourage creativity is to reward it. Most Fortune 500 companies have programs in place that reward employees who come up with innovative ideas. Does your company have such a program?
The key is an effective, yet difficult-to-master exercise. It teaches an employee that their mind is like a vault with all the ideas that could be and ever have been inside. All they need is the key, and they must visualize themselves finding it and exploring the vault. In reality, the exercise itself is the key. This is because when we visualize ourselves doing something creative, we immediate activate the creative centre of the brain.
And before you dismiss these points as applying only to companies in so-called “inventive” fields, remember that creativity can apply to all kinds of problem-solving and “outside of the box” thinking. While we tend to separate ourselves into “doers” and “thinkers,” it’s important to remember that the most successful people in the world have often been both.
What helps you to be more creative?
Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.