Organizational issues are becoming more complicated in the 21st century. They call for corporate leaders to respond with radical solutions. Some of the arising issues need standard, logical solutions to chart a course of action after analysis of drivers and circumstances. Where the situation is recurring, the organization may apply the same solutions as before - but new circumstances may occur that could take an organization by surprise. These call for genuine innovations that will find a solution, but also satisfy the stakeholders.
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There are numerous advantages to allowing room for creativity in your business. For instance, creativity in developing and improving company operations leads to competitive advantages, increased efficiency, motivated teams, and exponential growth.
Creativity is a big plus for a company that establishes a creative working environment as employees are the first to know when daily operations fail to run smoothly. The experience they gain over time allows them to have ideas on alternatives that could solve a myriad of challenges for the organization.
For a company to progress, the staff needs to feel free to express their ideas in an environment that accommodates, supports, and rewards creativity. However, it is important that directors and managers retain overall control, with clearly defined objectives about how to go about each task. This will help maintain order at the workplace because if left uncontrolled, some staff members may want to experiment with extreme and risky ideas.
The values of the company need to include innovation so employees feel free to create new and better ways of doing things. Creativity needs space, and good ideas thrive in a safe and non-judgmental environment. By creating space for playing around with ideas and brainstorming in freedom, employees can come up with solutions that work. Each idea might not be useful, but when ideas are heard they may be a springboard towards greater solutions.
Teams need to table all possibilities and pick the best one for implementation. It is important to establish a framework that ensures ideas do not fly all over the place in opposite directions. For instance, a guided innovation could arise from asking the team the following question: what can we do to further minimize the cost of constructing a building, without investing in expensive modern building equipment?
The staff will respond with suggestions, and once ideas come up, actions on the best one need to follow in order to achieve the set goals. You need to explain to the teams the changes that will apply, with comprehensive explanations on why each course of action is preferable. A good timeline and implementation plan also need to be in place so the team knows what to do, how, when, and why.
Some of the ways in which companies benefit from creativity are that it helps them to:
- Grow and advance in the market from the bottom upwards and not the other way around. This approach is quicker and involves each person, creating a strong sense of ownership.
- Acquire huge competitive advantages
- Encourage team stimulation and engagement
- Reinforce a sense of loyalty, respect, and commitment
- Continuously improve efficiency through investment of attention and time
- Increase workplace productivity and problem-solving
- Increase workplace interaction and productivity
- Increase staff fun, happiness, and morale
- Improve capacity to attract, hire, and retain the best employees
- Better team bonding and teamwork
According to most top organization managers, fostering a creative environment in a busy workplace feels like juggling. However, there are six management and leadership practices that help to achieve this effectively, such as:
The Intellectual Challenge
This method requires you to stretch and challenge people intellectually by matching them according to their problem-solving skills. It supports their intrinsic motivation and expertise, but they must be stretched within certain limits. Too much might overwhelm the employees, while too little challenge will leave them bored.
Creative efforts need support from managers, leaders, and the whole organization. Management should promote collaboration and sharing of information, which leads to developing expertise and boosts intrinsic motivation. Reducing political battles will also go a long way in helping executives create an environment where innovation can thrive.
Management should create and maintain a safe atmosphere for free-thinking, including disagreeing with management and challenging assumptions. An employee who does not feel safe doing this will only mirror ideas of management, failing to share their valuable ideas which could save a critical situation.
An opportunity to publicly praise creative thinking and solutions should not be allowed to slip through the fingers. Some people need to know their good work really matters in order to maintain their passion. Any brilliant idea requires rapid evaluation, without subjecting it to reluctantly slow review procedures.
Freedom of Choice
Management should set up stable goals and objectives, but allow employees to determine the best method they should apply to achieve them. Researchers say that employees tend to unleash their creativity once they know that the completion of a task fully depends on the course of action they choose, and that their appraisal is dependent on the results.
Effective Work Groups Design
Workgroups with diverse perspectives and backgrounds are likely to be most productive, especially with mutual support. When ‘cross-pollination’ takes place, hybrid solutions for complex challenges take roots. Intuition and experience are the two characteristics of a leader, who blends teams effectively. Homogenous teams might have less internal conflicts which also makes them less productive, so management needs to be very careful while designing them.
Provision of the Right Resources
Money and time are necessary, and the proportions of these resources assigned to enhancing creativity play a major role in either stifling or supporting it. Reasonable task deadlines are good for triggering creativity while impossibly tight or false ones only lead to burnout and distrust. According to the nature of activities they intend to carry out, groups also need adequate funds for optimal creativity. However, it is still important to keep the costs minimal, or possibly have none at all.
Other tips that may help boost creative thinking include:
- Encourage continuous learning
- Consider multiple alternatives for each situation
- Suspend judgment, allowing ideas to flow
- Use fortnightly or weekly lunchtime brainstorming sessions
- Create opportunities for staff members who don’t usually interact at the workplace to meet
- Take significant breaks between the work
- Carefully incorporate playfulness, spontaneity, humor, and fun
Each and every employee possesses innovation potential, and one does not necessarily have to be an artist in order to be creative. Each department in an organization stands the chance of reaping benefits of creativity, whether it be IT, finance, human resource, sales, or marketing. Innovation might come from any staff member. For this reason, a company needs to pay attention to employees and entertain their suggestions.
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