Throughout history, we’ve lived in a culture that tells us that being a creative person means writing a bestselling novel or painting a masterful work of art. But you don’t need Picasso’s technique to solve creative problems; in fact, you probably do it every day. For businesses, innovation starts when you empower your staff members to be inquisitive and open-minded and to treat problems as portals to new ideas. Here are some strategies for unleashing your team’s creative potential.
Tapping into your company’s biggest asset
No matter what industry you operate in, chances are that your employees embrace creative thinking without knowing that’s what they’re doing. But whether it’s rolling out an innovation program that encourages curiosity, transparency, and experimentation or investing in education, training, and resources to nurture this spirit, creating a culture that fosters creative contributions should be your first step. It’s important to treat your staff members as individuals with unique perspectives and voices.
Fighting the myths of creativity
The belief that creativity is an attribute that applies only to a blessed few individuals is a serious myth. At Ikabo, when we’ve run our innovation training program with a client team, we’ve had participants tell us that they don’t believe they’re creative people. But when they describe the way they’ve responded to an everyday problem, it’s clear that they’ve used the left and right sides of their brains to come up with a solution that’s creative at its heart. Whether it’s throwing together a wholesome meal based on leftover ingredients, donning an interesting outfit, or planning a special party, we exercise creativity in all kinds of ways. By recognising and rewarding everyday creativity in your staff members, you can unblock them – a move that will help you build a company with a truly innovative mindset.
Framing problems as creative challenges
Creative people don’t subscribe to black-and-white thinking; they see problems from different angles, are open to novelty and ambiguity, and question everything they see. Unfortunately, the fact that our culture often discourages this perspective means that our creative potential can be snuffed out. By encouraging your staff to frame problems as creative challenges and exploring different avenues before arriving at a solution, you’ll help your staff adopt the killer behaviours that turn obstacles into opportunities.
Encouraging your employees’ creative potential also means opening the door to ideas and directions that will help your company evolve. How are you encouraging your staff to embrace everyday creativity?