It’s becoming increasingly important for companies, especially small businesses, to have employees who are not only capable but also very creative. Obviously, this matters a lot more in some industries (marketing, design, media) than it does others, but having employees who can think resourcefully and come up with solutions fast is always welcome.
Obviously, the easiest way to ensure that your workplace is a creative one is to hire creative individuals in the first place, but if you haven’t done that, or if you simply want to enhance the creativity of the staff you already do have, here are a few things that may work for you:
Anything that you can do to encourage more interactions, communication, and most importantly collaboration, between your employees is sure to be fruitful. There are numerous ways you can do this, from using a news aggregator that collects information and makes it available for sharing, to making the office open plan or setting up more communal areas – the choice is yours – but you can be sure that the more contact they have, the more ideas will be shared, and the more creative your team will be as a whole.
Make Brainstorming More Equal
Brainstorming might be an old technique, but it is still a very good way to enhance creativity in the workplace. However, the way we traditionally hold brainstorming sessions is perhaps not the best because often ideas given by the most popular employees, or those suggested at the beginning of a session are given more thought and attention than others.
The good news is, there is a simple solution to this – allot each employee some time to brainstorm, have them write down their ideas and then get together to discuss them collectively at a later date or time, keeping them anonymous. That way, all ideas will be given equal attention, and you can find the most creative solutions there are.
Give Employees Time to Produce
If you’re one of those bosses who presents your staff with a problem, oh, 30 minutes before you want a solution, don’t expect them to be working at their creative best! Creativity takes time, it takes absorption of ideas, it takes research, and that is why you should always allot ample time for your employees to get their work done.
Be Prepared to Listen
This should be obvious, but many business owners simply do not take the time to listen to their employees and the new ideas they have. If an idea seems on the surface to be too far out there compared to what is usually done, they shut it down immediately. This only stifles creativity, and you shouldn’t do it if you want to hit upon genuinely new ideas and improvements for your company, nor if you want your employees’ to feel that their creative input is valued.
That being said, placing other restrictions on your team could prove to be very fruitful. You see, although it sounds quite counter-intuitive, when you only have a limited amount of tools at your disposal, it can really focus your mind and help you to think in more creative terms than you would be with no limits applied.