The Benefits of Promoting Creativity in the Workplace

Last week Charles Parnell introduced the components of an innovative and creative workplace. He posed some thought-provoking questions to examine. Now that you understand the components of an innovative and creative workplace, Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham explains that the next step is to ask yourself to consider the benefits of promoting creativity in the workplace… and dangers if you do not!

If you want to keep your business moving forward, creativity is essential. Cool, funky environments can help initiate creative thinking, but something as simple as regular brainstorming sessions can work as well. When examining an idea, problem or project take the time to ask yourself, does getting your team together and brainstorming this situation initiate creativity or does it allow employees to contribute and build on ideas? We know brainstorming sessions help create employee engagement.

However, sometimes just by being open-minded, setting up an environment to help employees think outside of the box and offering the right incentives, organizations can help employees tap into their creativity.

What are some of the benefits of creativity in the workplace?
* Generates excitement and passion
* Increases collaboration and teamwork
* Increases performance and productivity
* Fosters problem-solving
* Encourages individuals to think, listen, and build on ideas
* Fosters a culture of imagination, motivation, and reward
* Increases curiosity that can drive a desire to learn
* Opens your mind; allows you to venture into unexplored areas
* Encourages individual talents to emerge
* Encouraging creativity leads to motivation

What are some of the dangers of not exploring creativity in the workplace?
* Employees don’t work well together
* Problems don’t get solved, projects don’t get completed in the best ways possible
* Employees don’t work together to expand on ideas, which can foster creativity
* Employees lose passion
* Decrease in productivity
* Employees become disengaged
* Employees don’t reach their full potential
* Teams don’t reach their full potential
* Employees don’t feel valued; their strengths and talents are not being used
* Employees become bored; they may even express fatigue
* Employees may begin to seek out other opportunities or organizations

How does an organization promote creativity in the workplace? Here are a few suggestions:
* Create an environment that encourages creativity – Allow employees to decorate an office or area and call it their creativity space. This provides employees with a sense of ownership.
* Allow time to play. (work hard/play hard) – Set up things in the creativity space to initiate ideas during brainstorming sessions. Examples may be flips charts, blocks and/or Legos, paint, music, Slinkys, brain puzzles, colored markers, Kush balls, and more…
* Set a scheduled meeting – Maybe schedule bi-weekly, where the team comes together to brainstorm a project or a problem. Set the stage so your team knows what’s expected prior to the session.
* Create a board – List the goals or strategies of the organization. Use this board to choose the project or problem the team will brainstorm in the bi-weekly meeting.
* Pre-work (sometimes known as Homework) – Give your team some pre-work prior to a meeting. Everyone on the team has to come to the meeting with one suggestion or solution to the project, goal or problem. (Nominal Group Technique works well for this also.)
* Rewards – Provide rewards for the best suggestion or solution that the team agrees on. This is just as important as the implementation of the suggestion or idea.
* Establish engaging rewards – Depending on your team, some engaging rewards could be movie tickets, a bottle of wine, a massage, a gift card, or even money. Some companies provide an area to acknowledge and encourage creative thinking.

What are some of the benefits to the organization (and leadership) when there is creativity in the workplace?
* Teams are more open-minded, less judgmental when it comes to suggestions
* Teams develop patience; creativity takes time
* Teams learn to combine and build on ideas to get the best solutions
* Teams come up with more creative ideas and solutions
* Employees are encouraged to think outside of their comfort zone
* Diversity is cultivated and expanded
* Creates synergy – two heads are better than one
* Increased employee and team interaction
* Increased engagement by employees and management
* Increased staff morale
* Increased motivation, passion and morale
* Increased problem solving and productivity
* Increased bonding, collaboration, and teamwork

When an organization encourages continuous learning, creative thinking, and increased innovation everyone benefits. How? It increases the likelihood of retaining quality, committed people and creating an engaging workplace.


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