Corporate Learning

5 ways to foster creativity in the workplace

For managers to be successful business leaders, they need to plug into their employees’ creative sides. Although everyone varies in their degree of creativity, there’s no doubt that it is a fundamental trait that benefits sectors of all kinds. However, it’s typical for corporations to let creative thinking sit on the back burner, even though strokes of creative genius have lead to incredibly successful business ventures. Disney, Apple and Facebook are a few great examples that quickly come to mind, but there are many others.

“Creativity in the business world is something that must be nurtured over time.”

The light bulb illuminating above a person’s head. The “a ha!” moment. In pop culture, creativity is usually illustrated in a sudden rush of genius (this is almost always seen in movies, TV shows and commercials). While experimental creative thinking is something that’s perfect for writing a novel or painting a masterpiece, it’s also exceptionally rare. However, creativity in the business world is something that must be nurtured over time in order to see the effects blossom and grow.

“What they overlook is a less dramatic form of creativity – it’s gradual, and there’s never a eureka moment,” University of Chicago economist David Galenson explained to Forbes.

Coming up with new ideas requires imagination and an intuitive thought process. Below are some excellent ways for business leaders to foster creativity in the workplace:

1. Embrace communication at all levels: Every employee in your business has the ability to come up with a great idea. Creating a business culture in which individuals are encouraged to speak up at meetings and give their input is vital to break through those dry spells at the office. It’s also crucial for managers to not become too critical of an employee’s initial idea – keep in mind that some of these ideas might not be fully developed yet, and sometimes it takes going through several bad ideas to come up with one that really works for the company.

2. Hold regular brainstorming sessions: In the corporate world, it’s easy for managers and employees to get “tunnel vision,” which can definitely bring creative flow to a stifling halt. One easy – and often fun – way to remedy this is to have frequent brainstorming sessions to come up with solutions. There doesn’t need to be an agenda and they can be as open-ended as you want.

3. Recognize and reward creative solutions that work: If one your employees comes up with a really great concept for the company, be sure to reward that individual publicly. This will encourage everyone to come up with their own creative solutions to problems and foster a culture of positivity and innovation. When creative solutions are valued, your employees will want to make them a part of their conversations and problem-solving strategies.

Creative brainstorming sessions are excellent ways to free up ideas.

4. Give employees the tools they need to achieve creative solutions: Technology in the workplace is more advanced than ever, and can include business simulations, data analytics and other diagnostic tools. Dave Peters, a development and strategy director at Brother, explained to the Telegraph that taking advantage of tech advancements in mobile helped his company create optimized experiences for Brother’s customers. In an ever-expanding digital and global workforce, innovation and creativity cannot be accomplished without technological advancements and software.

5. Personally develop individual creative skills: There is value to a team assessment, but personal development is also key for managers if they want to foster a creative atmosphere.

“A culture of self-determination, where individuals have the opportunity to develop their own roles, also helps. They can think and reach beyond their job description,” Peters explained.

Creating a culture of creativity could be an excellent way to take your business to the next level. Try implementing some of these strategies to see if they are a good fit for your company.

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