Creativity and ‘creative-thinking’ are popular buzzwords these days. It would be almost impossible to work in any business today and not have someone – a colleague or client – suggest you need to “be more creative.” This phrase is ingrained in our daily vernacular. At the same time, the meaning has become somewhat watered down that it’s almost impossible to define exactly what it means.
The dictionary definition for 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 object or form.”
“Creativity is just connecting things” - Steve Jobs
For many people, creativity is synonymous with the arts: music, design, art, dance, drama & literature – but not so easily correlated with the subject of business. There are many benefits, pointing to the importance of organisations encouraging employees to be imaginative and creative via art workshops in the workplace.
Fostering creativity won’t merely increase your employee's chances of becoming the next Picasso. In fact, you’re also helping them develop socially, mentally, and emotionally. Studies have found that when we encourage divergent thinking, we help to maintain employees motivation whilst generating a passion for in-depth learning.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” - Maya Angelou
Most importantly perhaps, feel-good endorphins are produced while they are creating, art helps boost self-confidence. And employees who feel able to experiment and to make mistakes, feel free to invent new ways of thinking, which extends well beyond the craft -room.
5 Ways to inspire Creativity
1) Stress the importance of creativity for the business
Ensure all your staff know that you want to hear their ideas and make sure they understand how innovation keeps your firm competitive.
2) Be supportive
Respond positively and enthusiastically to all ideas.
Never make someone offering an idea feel foolish and give even the most apparently outlandish of ideas a chance to be aired.
3) Make time for new ideas
Allocate time for thinking about different approaches. Hold regular group workshops; arrange team days out or group meetings where employees can freely express ideas.
Why not place a suggestion box around the workplace and appeal for original ways to solve particular problems.
4) Challenge the way staff work
Broadening employees experiences can be a great way to kick-start innovation. Short-term job swaps and shadowing in-house can introduce a fresh perspective.
5) Tolerate mistakes
A certain amount of risk-taking is inevitable with creative thinking, so allow people to learn from their mistakes and don't put off the creative flow by penalising employees whose ideas don't necessarily work out.