Creativity: a profitable tool for companies
Some key points:
Where there’s a will…
Why is it so important to foster and value a creative environment? Well, employees know better than anyone when day-to-day operations are not running smoothly. They can suggest creative alternatives to improve processes and further the company. In a creative environment, employees feel they can express their ideas and be heard, making them feel valued, which is very motivating. In a creative environment, however, managers and directors must be able to relinquish control of the “how” to concentrate on the general direction and definition of team objectives, allowing employees to make needed improvements to their work environment. A corporate will to value creativity is necessary for employees to feel free to speak up and work out a problem to its potential solution and spark innovation.
…there’s a space
Creativity needs space. Space in terms of time for brainstorming and for bouncing ideas around. Not all the ideas that emerge will be good, but good ideas can only emerge in a non-judgemental, safe space. The idea is to write down every idea, then pick the one that best suits your current situation and constraints. This final selection can be made as a team. To avoid the problem of ideas flying off in all directions, set a pre-determined framework. For example, a team leader could ask the following question: how can we improve our ordering process while respecting timelines and without spending extra money?
Engaging and communicating
Once the ideas are out there, you have to do something with them. Otherwise, you’re wasting everyone’s time and energy. Take the time to plan and set a timeline for the implementation of new ideas and initiatives. All changes will have to be communicated to the team as a whole, explaining why a given option was chosen. This requires a little more energy than working on business-as-usual automatic pilot. But it’s so much more stimulating for employees, who feel that they belong.
Beneficial effects of creativity on companies:
- Furthering and growing the company from the ground up, rather than top-down. The ground-up approach is so much faster, with everyone involved in the process.
- A competitive advantage.
- Continuous efficiency improvements, after an initial investment of time and attention.
- Increased employee ownership.
- Team engagement and stimulation.
- Reinforced feeling of commitment, loyalty and respect.
Everyone has creative potential; no need to be an artist to generate innovation and new ideas. And every field and department of your company can benefit from an injection of creativity: marketing, finance, IT, sales, human resources, etc. At the very least, companies are well advised to listen to employees, find out how they would fix an irritant, or how they would address a daily challenge. Why not take advantage of the resources at hand? Often, the best ideas and solutions are right under your nose.