We all know creativity when we see it. Whether it's a cool new product, an innovative way to solve a workplace issues, or a useful management tool, creativity is valued in the workplace. But what exactly is creativity? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, creativity is the "ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic objects or form". That sounds exactly like what all CEO's and marketing managers want out of their team's brainstorming sessions. So how does a manager delve into the inner creativity of an employee? Here are the top 5 ways to get employees thinking more creatively.
- Make sure to encourage non-judgmental brainstorming sessions. If team meetings have a history of being a place where ideas are not valued, then pretty quickly people will stop offering their ideas for improvements. Make sure all team members know that everyone’s ideas are needed in order to compile comprehensive lists. Criticism can only hinder the creative processes.
- Diversity is the key. A homogeneous workplace can promote team building and cohesion, however when striving for creativity and innovation, a diversified workplace will offer ideas from all walks of life. The more perspectives on a topic available the more likely a solution to a problem or new product will be created.
- Encourage risk-taking. Playing it safe in the idea department can cost your company in terms of loss of revenue, depletion of customer base, or employees leaving from feeling stifled. Innovation requires a bit of risk, so let your employees know they can pitch an idea and if feasible, work on its development even if it is not the tried-and-true standby.
- Allow space for individuality. Group brainstorming sessions are great for generating many ideas in a short time period. But sometimes employees come up with great ideas while having some down time from normal work tasks. Companies like Google and 3M offer employees percent programs to give them solo time to be creative.
- Limit time constraints. Placing unrealistic deadlines on projects and forcing employees to generate solutions on a timetable can place stress on the creative process. When possible, try to place the focus on productivity instead of the time clock.
Creativity is valued in any workplace. Learning how to have a space that allows the freedom required for creative thinking will get employees thinking of ways to improve work processes, how to better a current product line, or ways to increase your customer base.