There are many ways to encourage creativity in businesses and spur innovation. Some companies choose to set up dedicated innovation teams, while others adopt a more open-ended approach where all employees are encouraged to be creative.
Here are some ways to encourage creativity in business:
1) Encourage collaboration: Collaboration is a key ingredient for creativity. When people work together, they can share ideas and build on each other's suggestions. This can lead to breakthroughs that would not have been possible working alone.
There is a famous image of the solitary genius, working alone in a lab or searching for a melody on a lone piano. But is the ‘solitary genius' a myth? In a paper on collaboration and creativity, Uzzi and Spiro (2005, p. 447) note how collaboration can boost creative production: “creativity is not only, as myth tells, the brash work of loners, but also the consequence of a social system of actors that amplify or stifle one another's creativity.” Uzzi and Spiro (2005) argue that many of history's great creators – such as Beethoven, Marie Curie, the Beatles, and Maya Angelou – were involved in creative networks in which members critiqued, encouraged and collaborated on each other's projects.
So, if you tend to work alone and find yourself stuck on a project, consider seeking collaboration, for example, by discussing your project with another person in your field. You might find a new way forward on your project, with a little help from your friends. Source: positivepsychology.com
2) Encourage risk taking: Many great innovations come from taking risks. If employees feel safe to experiment and take risks, they are more likely to come up with new ideas.
3) Encourage failure: Failure is often seen as a negative, but it can actually be a positive force for creativity. If employees feel safe to fail, they will be more likely to try new things and come up with innovative solutions.
4) Encourage outside perspectives: Outside perspectives can bring fresh ideas and help challenge existing assumptions. Encouraging employees to seek out different points of view can open up new possibilities for innovation.
According to the Harvard Business Review , “Duke University's Wesley Cohen has shown that corporate creativity depends upon a firm's ‘absorptive capacity' – the ability of its research and development units not just to create innovations but to absorb them from outside sources.” As you discuss ideas in your workplace, don't try and censor them based on where they come from. Be permeable, and you'll discover that you'll absorb new ideas from diverse sources. Source: positivepsychology.com
5) Encourage play: Playful activities can help spark creativity. This can be anything from organized team-building exercises to simply encouraging employees to take breaks during the day to relax and have fun.
6) Encourage brainstorming: Brainstorming is a great way to generate new ideas. When employees are given the time and space to brainstorm, they can come up with creative solutions that they may not have thought of otherwise.
7) Encourage creativity in all employees: Creativity is not just for the "creative types." Everyone has the potential to be creative. By encouraging all employees to be creative, businesses can tap into a vast source of innovative ideas.
Highly Engaged employees are 2.9x more likely to report working for an innovative organization than Actively Disengaged employees. Source: blog.bonus.ly
8) Encourage innovation teams: Innovation teams are groups of employees who are charged with coming up with new ideas for the business. These teams can help generate a steady stream of new ideas and keep the company at the cutting edge.
9) Encourage open-ended thinking: Open-ended thinking is when employees are given the freedom to explore different ideas without being constrained by pre-existing assumptions. This type of thinking can lead to truly innovative solutions.
10) Encourage a culture of innovation: A culture of innovation is one where creativity and new ideas are valued. When employees feel like their ideas are welcome and appreciated, they are more likely to be creative. When you're trying to create an innovative environment, give your employees a way to show that their ideas work. Say yes as often as you can. Give your employees the gift of flexibility. In the earlier days at Google, staff were given 20 percent of their time to spend on innovative side projects that could make a difference.
Encouraging creativity in business can be a challenge, but it is worth the effort. By fostering a creative environment, businesses can spur innovation and stay ahead of the competition.