It is creativity that breeds innovation in the workplace. Those using more traditional and less creative methods seem to take a lot longer to reach the same level of innovation. But what is it that makes some teams more creative than others? No, it’s not because they are all left handed. They simply have a different approach, right from the formation of the team itself. Here are 3 ways to encourage creativity in the workplace:
1. Create diverse teams.
It has been well documented that diversity fosters creativity. Diversity in education, specialisation, background, gender, race, everything! While all team members working on a specific project must have the relevant experience and specialisation in the necessary area, you will find that building a team purely made up of experts in that very specific area will stifle the potential for creativity. Often those with a depth of knowledge in the required field as well as a wide breadth of knowledge in other areas will be far more useful – these people are referred to as ‘T’ shaped. Rather than having that tunnel vision that can sometimes come with having a depth of knowledge in one specific area, those with a broader variety of skills are better able to offer a wider perspective. Have you ever struggled with a problem at work all day only to mention it to your neighbour and for their response to inspire a solution even though they have no idea what you are talking about? Often a different perspective is all you need to jump start the creativity.
2. Widen your recruitment focus.
It is easy to fall into the trap of recruiting people who are like you or like your favourite colleagues. You want to hire someone who you get along with and rightly so, but be careful. If you are constantly hiring people who are the same as you and everyone else in your establishment then you will quickly find that creating diverse teams is impossible. Everyone will come up with similar ideas and the creativity will be lost.
3. Encourage debate amongst team members.
Debates are almost inevitable if you have covered point 1 and 2. It is natural for people to disagree but it is important that everyone is actively encouraged to share their opposing opinions. Often when we are forced to explain our ideas out loud, we are able to fine tune them together. The process of deciding why an idea is not the best one can help to refine and inspire new innovations. Challenging the status quo often spawns creativity simply through the act of evaluating why you don’t like the current situation.
Make these 3 simple changes and you will have a workplace that fosters creativity and thrives on new innovation!