We often equate creativity with painters, cartoonists, writers, and people who are talented in things like, quilting, or arts and crafts. But creativity serves an important purpose outside the crafter’s studio.
In fact, according to research by Forrester, 82% of executives maintain that companies benefit from creativity. These benefits include increased profits and market share.
Perceived benefits aside, 61% of executives don’t actually see their companies as creative, notes Northeastern University.
Why Creativity Is Important to Your Business
Creativity is crucial for businesses operating in today’s fiercely competitive environment. As an article by Northeastern University points out, “Creativity is what fuels big ideas, challenges employees’ way of thinking, and opens the door to new business opportunities.” That’s why creativity in business should be prioritized by senior leadership, suggests Northeastern.
Catmedia cites an IBM survey of more than 1,500 CEOs, which revealed that creativity is believed to be the #1 factor for future business success, coming in ahead of management discipline, integrity, and vision.
Creative thinking also helps business owners take a different approach to problem-solving, leading to surprisingly rewarding outcomes. Commonly referred to as “thinking outside the box, creative thinking involves being able to see beyond the ordinary to come up with innovative ways of overcoming challenges.
Forbes points out that thinking creatively can mean seeing patterns that aren’t visible to others or recognizing connections between people, products and concepts that no one has before.
For companies that learn to think outside the box, the possibilities are endless.
“Creativity and innovation are often the reason that businesses flourish in today’s world—setting the bar higher for the next ‘big’ idea. ” ~ Catmedia
How to Cultivate Creativity in the Workplace
While it’s true that only a small part of many companies is tasked with the responsibilities of creative work, all businesses can benefit from involving the entire team in creative brainstorming.
“Everyone is able to channel creative thinking when put in the right environment.”
Here are some ways to engage all team members in more creative thinking:
- Assign each employee with a problem-solving experience that will challenge them to approach situations creatively.
- Allow employees to choose the methods they’d like to use to solve a problem. This encourages them to be more creative. Give them the freedom to approach tasks differently and solve problems in many different ways. Don’t forget to let employees take breaks from certain projects, assignments, or problem-solving. The mind needs resting time to regroup so creativity can strike up again.
- Diversity gives creative minds the opportunity to collaborate and solve problems. When employees are placed in groups, they can listen to different opinions and bounce ideas off one another, helping team members further reach their creative capacity.
- When employees feel safe in their work environment, they tend to voice more of their creative ideas. They need to feel like they have the encouragement and support of their managers and fellow coworkers which will give them the confidence to think more freely and creatively without judgment.
- The organization should have a policy of praising creativity so employees feel as if they can discuss their ideas openly to multiple people in the office. Even if the company doesn’t agree with employee ideas, it needs to let them know they’ve been heard and that their ideas are appreciated. Otherwise, employees will lose confidence and their creative thinking may be suppressed.
Giving employees opportunities to nurture and use creative thinking throughout the workday can boost motivation, encouraging them to work harder to help make the business a success.
Creativity in business cannot be underestimated, especially in a market that thrives on the latest and greatest technology. Companies that implement a culture of creativity will benefit from a collaboration of diverse minds that can turn creative business ideas into reality.
“For innovation to flourish, organizations must create an environment that fosters creativity; bringing together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration together—exchanging knowledge, ideas and shaping the direction of the future.”
“Creative thinking leads to the implementation of innovative ideas in the workplace,” says Catmedia. A business’s creative ideas, then, become a key differentiator, setting it apart from other companies.
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Also published on Medium.