In principle, businesses of all shapes and sizes should strive for a culture of creativity. Creativity has always been at the forefront of innovation. Whether that’s the invention of the first light bulb, using 5G to power autonomous vehicles or improving financial management through open banking, creativity is what makes us realise our best ideas and bring them to life!
For a business, creativity should mean more than just ‘fun’. If harnessed well, creativity enables better teamwork and bonding, it increases workplace engagement and interaction and improves the company’s ability to attract and retain inspired employees.
For employees, creativity reduces stress and anxiety, fosters fun and happiness, encourages problem-solving and gives teams an enhanced sense of purpose. Worryingly, 75% of people currently thinking they’re not living up to their creative potential, indicating that many could be left feeling unfulfilled and demotivated.
So, given all of the benefits, it’s no surprise that creative industries boast faster job growth and slower job loss than other sectors of the economy. Creativity may even help firms combat the Great Resignation.
Here are five steps firms can take to build a culture of creativity, to inspire the best ideas.
#1 Don’t be a negative Nelly
Cultivating a culture of creative thinking can take time to build, but just moments to destroy. Everyone has heard the saying, ‘no idea is a bad idea’ and in principle it’s a great policy to have. By removing the judgement of ideas, people are generally more inclined to go wild with their imaginations – which, usually brings out the best and brightest thinking.
Whether it’s an eyeroll, a sideways glance to another colleague or even a corner turned smile, a negative reaction can crush an individual from feeling inspired to embarrassed. For the greatest ideas to flourish, thinking sometimes needs to go a little off track. The original idea might not be right, but the direction of thinking could go on to inspire the perfect solution.
#2 Think outside the box – literally!
Creativity thrives best in different environments for different people.
To think outside the box, people often have to literally be out of their usual box. Whether that means going into a different meeting room, taking the team offsite for the day, or hosting a brainstorm while walking around the block. Moving environments is a simple, yet effective trick to help employees relax, remove traditional distractions (emails, emails and emails!) and place them in a new, exciting location to inspire ideas.
#3 Build trust
Trust plays a major role in encouraging employee creative thinking. Employees won’t be forthcoming if they feel management will dismiss them. Voicing creative ideas takes bravery, which should be rewarded with positive reassurance and feedback.
Those in management should be prepared to lead by example and take risks, expressing their ideas freely and openly communicating with the team. They need to be able to admit mistakes and show that they’ve learnt from them.
When teams witness these behaviours, they’ll feel comfortable bringing their own thoughts to the table, safe in the knowledge that they’re working in a culture that encourages ideas whether they end up being right or wrong.
#4 The pursuit of new ideas: Brainstorms
Love them or hate them, brainstorms are an invaluable tool in the pursuit of creativity. When trust has been established, bringing the team together to come up with a fresh approach will further help build a culture of creative thinking that is bound to benefit the business.
There are hundreds of tips on how to get the most from brainstorms, but perhaps the most important is ensuring every idea is heard. Here, the order in which thoughts are shared can make a big difference.
With people at different levels of seniority joining brainstorms, the most junior members will often be inclined to agree or replicate the ideas of those who are more senior, instantly killing creativity. To combat this, reinforce the ‘no idea is a bad idea’ policy and let the most junior person in the room share first, working up to the most senior member. This way, businesses can make sure that everyone is heard, and every member of the team feels valued.
#5 Recognise and reward
A HUGE part of building a culture of creativity is recognising and rewarding effort, not just success. The boundaries of creative thinking are so wide, that untraditional ideas are bound to be discussed. For managers striving for a culture of creativity, it’s really important to recognise when someone has gone above and beyond to think about something new. Whatever the final outcome, creativity should be celebrated and encouraged.
To reward creativity, first and foremost, employees should be empowered with the freedom and responsibility to take a project they’ve devised forward themselves. Giving someone the ability to see their idea through from start to finish is a fantastic motivator for the future.
While many businesses aspire to develop innovative and creative workforces, few truly take the time to build a culture of creativity. By supporting and empowering teams to come up with ideas, businesses will experience numerous benefits – from a happier workforce to greater productivity, and even an increase in revenue. It might just be the boost they need to reach the next level of success.
If you want to find out more about how Missive Studio can help you inject more creativity into your campaigns, contact us today.