How to encourage creativity in your team
Creativity is not the same as innovation. Creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas or concepts, or new associations between ideas and known concepts. These usually produce original solutions. Innovation is applied creativity, which translates into new products, services or procedures, and have successful applications. In short, as Xavier Marcet says,’ Innovation is about putting the future on the agenda of the present’.
Therefore, when in a company or team we get a creative environment that it turn into innovation, we get a clear competitive edge: Innovative creativity.
Here are some formulas to promote innovative creativity in your company:
1.- Keep an open mind to the “new”. Business creativity requires a leader who looks for alternatives to existing situations (reactive creativity) or formulates solutions to problems that may come up in the future (predictive creativity). The creative leader is one who is able to question everything, noting improvement areas, new trends, attending networking sessions of the sector, and understanding the need to be a technology enhancer.
2.- Organize your company in a multidisciplinary and transversal way. Regardless of your company has three or three thousand employees, functional silos are one of the most serious barriers to a creative organization. While each member of the team needs to have a specific role, they should be open to sharing tasks with their colleagues.
3.- Encourage debate and networking. Innovation processes must be open and inclusive. Meetings should have the following characteristics:
- From the outset, the general objectives and deliverables must be set out.
- Be composed of diverse groups that can bring different sensitivities and points-of-view.
- Lack hierarchy or bureaucracy (peer-to-peer). The leader must remain attentive, recognizing the effort and the contributions, whatever right or wrongs.
- At the end, a summary should be established with the conclusions and date of the next meeting. To achieve the necessary agility, maybe better-organized and shorter meetings.
4.- Listen to your stakeholders and pay attention to the customer experience. Most companies simply listen to the customer’s voice. Creative companies have been able to determine their interest groups and initiate formulas that allow them to be attentive to their opinions. In order to achieve this, they try to use customer feedback in order to help in the reengineering of their products (often using design thinking, which has gone from design to management, with great results).
5.- Place your company in an open working environment. Creativity does not spring up in gray environments, cubicles or closed offices, nor in front of a spreadsheet. Creative companies are organized around open spaces (even in co-working, where there is the possibility of networking with colleagues from other sectors). They also try to maintain meeting spaces where attendees can express themselves with a coffee cup or a whiteboard. In addition, they have relaxation spaces where they can reflect, with well-being and healthy living policies. You can read more about it in our post ‘Practical tips for getting a healthy company’
In short, innovative creativity is an attitude that, when properly utilized, can be turned into new products, services and processes that generate a competitive edge.
Currently is Deputy General Director at Asepeyo and vice-president of the Association for People Management and Development in Catalonia (Aedipe).
He’s also member of the Human Resources Advisory Board of EAE Business School, of the GVC-GAESCO Advisory Board, and chairs the Governing Board of Asepeyo Corporate University. He also serves on the Governing Board of APD and is a co-founder of WEKOW Business Community.