08 Oct 5 Ways to Cultivate Creativity in Your Business
When many of us think of the concept of creativity, we probably think of artists splashing colours on to a blank canvas. We may think of a potter at the wheel, or a writer being struck by inspiration and penning a poem. But creativity is much broader than that. In business (and in life), creativity encourages us to solve problems differently. It makes us innovate. In fact, it’s an essential trait to have in the workplace – and even more so if you’re an entrepreneur.
If you don’t take practical steps to nurture creativity, it can be the first thing to fly out the window during the daily grind. But how do you cultivate it? Here are five ways to cultivate creativity, for yourself and your employees:
- Take yourself on a creative date: Diarise just one hour a month (at least!) where you do something completely out of the ordinary. It doesn’t even need to be related to work (in fact, it’s better if it’s not!). See the latest exhibition at the gallery near you, watch an arthouse film on your own, go to a book launch at your local store, or simply download that fascinating podcast you simply haven’t had time to listen to. Changing the scenery helps with creativity too, so you could also work outdoors one day a week, visit a new coffee shop (laptop in hand), or even switch desks or offices with a colleague. New perspectives do wonders for creative thought.
- Encourage every employee to contribute: It’s a mistake to assume that only the more experienced employees in your company can have good ideas. In fact, the opposite may be true – those new to the game and less entrenched in your business may be able to take a wider and more alternative view. In order to get everyone to feel like their ideas are valued, you could offer incentives for great ideas, and even set up a general email address where employees will feel more comfortable sending their suggestions. Whether it’s new processes, new markets, or totally outlandish suggestions for your next team building day, encourage people to send it all through. You could even make it compulsory!
- Embrace failure: Incredible ideas often don’t start out that way. Don’t trash an idea just because it seems ridiculous. Learn to accept failure as part of the innovation process, and let that become part of your corporate culture. People need to feel safe enough to make mistakes, as long as they can learn from them and then move forward.
- Team up: If you’re a small business, it can be hard to benefit from any sort of diversity, as your employee base may not grow or change that much. So what do you do? Team up with other small businesses where there may be synergies – perhaps it’s a new offering you can work together on to create outside of your current offerings? Or skill gaps you could help each other fill? All of this only happens when you connect with others though, so it’s important as a small business to not close yourself off and work in isolation. Make it a regular habit to attend industry events, reach out to peers and read about (or listen to) what people in your industry are doing.
- Take a break: Stress is the death knell to creativity. Book those holidays, go to bed at a reasonable time, get some exercise…all the things you know are important but which you may end up sacrificing in an effort to build an empire. After all, it’s hard to produce lightbulb moments when you’re exhausted and burnt out.
With the rise of automation, we’re consistently told that creativity is a trait we need to hire for, and something we have to focus on as businesses to remain relevant. Have some fun, connect with your inner child again, and let creativity work its magic.