Finding success and staying relevant are two challenging goals for any business in today’s competitive markets that are constantly changing. Two major factors helping achieve these goals are increasing profit and sustaining income. However, a company’s ability to foster workplace creativity is a factor that’s often overlooked. This includes innovation in products, processes, or ideas that change the way people think about doing things.
So, how do we enhance a workplace so that it inspires creativity from individuals, resulting in collaborative innovation from a core group?
What is Workplace Creativity?
First, we need to understand exactly what these terms mean. What is creativity, and how do we draw it out of our employees? Simply put, creativity is the production of useful ideas in any given domain, or the use of original ideas to create something. Innovation, on the other hand, is the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.
Second, we need to determine as an organization how to breed a creative atmosphere, allowing for free expression of thoughts and ideas, good or bad. There are some business boundaries that need to be adhered to in order to accomplish this goal, while taking into consideration the variety of personalities and perspectives within the workforce.
Not every person can associate with any given concept; however, we must do our best to facilitate a receptive atmosphere. The employer’s role is to be open to all ideas and shape them into something useful for the company. It is essential for employees to feel they are valuable contributors, and that their ideas are heard and considered.
A simple method for inspiring creativity is to reward “out of the box” thinking. Listen to everyone equally – from those who are typically outspoken, to the individuals who are less vocal. Bring together employees from different backgrounds and education, creating diverse groups from different departments for innovation “think tank” teams. Maintain a positive work environment, always receptive to new ideas and alternative solutions.
How Does Creativity Become Innovation?
Creativity stems from an individual’s ability to generate fresh ideas, while innovation is the company’s ability to transform those ideas into products, processes and ideas that progress our thinking and impact our lives in new ways. Innovation begins with vision; the organization needs to have a measurable end goal in mind before bringing together creative minds to collaborate on effective solutions.
We must also be willing to accommodate experiments that may fail, and be comfortable with probing areas that are unknown, never satisfied with the status quo. Innovation comes from the ability to swiftly change approaches and re-think our paths in the pursuit of measurable business success.
Companies are not always guaranteed an innovative outcome when combining these approaches, and there are no hard rules for being innovative. But when companies overlook a holistic approach to business methods, clinging instead to “how we’ve always done it,” they undermine their ability to rise to the top in today’s business culture. Creating a momentum of change demands a mindset of inclusiveness and receptivity. Companies need to heavily invest in this concept in order to be successful. If a business welcomes and equips the creativity of its employees, then shapes those ideas into useful solutions, it will inevitably foster the innovation necessary to remain successful and relevant.