Creativity and innovation are two subjects that have gotten a lot of attention in the past several years. This is a natural evolution if you look at the major business movements in the United States.
Coming out of an era when quality was paramount after the US had lost ground to Germany and Japan, as highlighted by the automotive industry, it logically followed that creating innovative products and services would be the new emphasis of businesses once reliability could be assured.
While most organizations say they want to be creative and innovative, most don’t take the necessary steps to ensure that they create the right environment for creativity and innovation to occur.
Fostering a culture of creativity and innovation requires a deliberate effort. While many organizations start out with creative cultures during their more entrepreneurial years, unless you consciously keep creating an environment that encourages creativity, you may lose the spirit that made you successful.
Unfortunately, most organizations either don’t have the tools to gauge creativity or they fail to do so regularly.
4 Tips For Creating A Culture Of Creativity & Innovation
Here are some things you can check to see how you’re doing on the creative culture scale.
- Diversify your workforce,
- Make creativity a strategic priority,
- Hire the right people, and
- Have a creative process and change it up from time to time.
Read on for the details.
1) How Diverse Is Your Workforce?
Creativity and innovation requires employees that think differently, literally.
Almost everyone has heard of the Myers-Briggs test and that’s a good assessment of whether your culture has enough diversity because it measures cognitive thinking styles. You need to have people that think differently if you want to encourage the type of debate and discussion that drives creativity and innovation, but you need to manage the process.
People need to learn how to disagree without taking it personally, which is easier said than done. By understanding the variety in thinking styles, people can respect differences of opinions and come to realize that it’s absolutely necessary to have that kind of “creative abrasion” if they want to get good ideas.
2) Make Creativity A Strategic Priority
Creativity should be a strategic priority just like any other strategic initiative.
All too often making time to generate ideas or just making time to think is seen as a luxury or something that’s only done during annual planning or when there’s a crisis. Organizations that have creative cultures have dedicated time for employees to generate new ideas and recognize that new ideas are the lifeblood of their success.
3) Hire The Right People
While this sounds so obvious, there is a tendency to hire people that we’re comfortable with because they like us.
This is also known as the comfortable clone syndrome and it’s one of the sure creativity killers in an organization because you don’t get the diversity of thinking styles that you need for creative abrasion.
You also need to hire for what is known as intrinsic motivation, or people that are motivated by the work itself versus the bells and whistles that may come with the job. In fact, research has shown that intrinsic motivation is the key factor in creating organizations that have high levels of innovation.
4) Have A Process & Change It Up From Time To Time
Most brainstorms are not very effective and it’s because they’re not organized correctly and rarely allow enough time for any truly unique and useful ideas to surface.
I can almost guarantee that if you don’t carefully structure the specific question you want to ask, provide plenty of background information to participants in advance of the session, and allow hours or days for idea generation with an objective facilitator – you’re going to be missing out in some potentially great ideas.
These four items are a good starting point to see whether you’re fostering a culture where creativity and innovation can flourish.
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