HOW TO CREATE AN INNOVATIVE CULTURE IN YOUR COMPANY
As a Creative person in a business landscape, this topic is introduced to conversations quite a bit.
You are a business owner, excited about building a team or you are expanding, so growth is your goal.
You are now faced with a challenge. A new kind of emotive challenge you have not been taught at College or a recent seminar, but with it brings huge impact to the bottom line of your business.
This goes beyond hanging some cool Art pieces on the wall, or shoving brightly coloured bean bags in a room, hoping your handpicked beauties will be 'inspired to be Creative' with this on trend effort.
Let us have a realistic and attainable look at where to start with this one!
What is a Creative person?
A skinny jeans wearing hipster, donning a Mac Air and drinking espressos in the local roastery, instagramming his experience. Yes, I am sure this dude is quite Creative but this perhaps is a glossy magazines version of what a Creative looks like.
In real life, it might look something more like this.....
- A person that is curious. One that tends to look up not straight ahead.
- Can comfortably voice their opinion even if it is not what the mass agrees with and are open to discussion.
- An individual who can create a wonderful expressive piece of Art on Canvas or equally a well constructed excel sheet providing accurate and wonderfully transparent results.
- A person who encourages change even if it goes against 'the way it is done'. Exploring the realm of possibility.
- Someone who is not fearful of injecting into the workplace, the one thing every human in the world craves....FUN!
As this quote abtly states;
In my eyes, every person on the planet has Creative capabilities. Some are more in tune with it than others. Let us explore the various ways we can encourage Creativity in our workplace.
BUILD A DIVERSE TEAM
Many business owners often complain that they have trouble finding really great talent for their organisation. Identifying key strengths, which usually mirror their own attributes. The assumption being if I could have a team just like me, my company will flourish.
Unless you’re trying to re-create a Ford factory model, more carbon copies are not the key to creating an innovative company. Instead, build a diverse team whose strength lies in its members' range of work experience, education and cultural backgrounds that play off of one another. This builds interesting perspective, a challenging environment and one filled with diversity.
CREATE SPACE TO ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY
Now we all know the trademark 'High five let's go get Creative - Awesome! ' interiors.
Large soft bean bags, table tennis, free food, beer ...surely this is what it takes to enhance Creativity with any employee. What else do they want!
Sure this has its impact plus is a great sales pitch when launching your recruitment drives but beware, this is just the icing on the cake. To create a space to encourage creativity in people you have to build a fundamental base for your cake.
- Promote its use, be seen to take this type of space seriously.
- Encourage management to use the space as you would like your employees to use it.
- Make it part of the culture by enforcing 'How to do it!' Just like how you train to do everything else within the company - you are the instigator - get Creative boss!
There is nothing more confusing for Creativity than having this amazing space but the organisations key people do not use it. It then becomes a den for those on the bottom of the pile. Who wants to be put into that box even if it has lots of cool stuff in it. Make it easy for your team to spark their Creative juices. It is in your hands.
REWARD RISK TAKING
Now that you've created a space for creativity, further encourage it by rewarding risk-taking. Think what inspires you? Is it playing safe, copying the rest of the pack?...didn't think so.
Building your own company was a huge risk. So why not surround yourself with people who can take risks to help further your vision? Companies like Google, that famously mandated that its employees dedicate a percentage of their work hours to developing their own side projects, are dedicated to encouraging risk-taking behaviour within a controlled environment. True innovative ideas don't arise out of stability.
Nothing fights complacency better than disagreement. You don’t have to wage an internal office war or create psychological discord. No, disagreement between professionals is the foundation of debate and debate is exactly what you need to make sure your company is constantly putting its best foot forward. This also encourages direct communication within the team.
TRY GROUP SOLVING PROBLEMS
At a small company, people often have to help one another to complete big projects. Someone from the design team might find himself or herself working with someone from tech support.
Creating a situation where people with entirely different skill sets and perspectives must work together can stimulate the best type of creativity and bring unexpected breakthroughs in thinking.
Discourage the need for diplomacy. Let people voice what they feel. Encourage your team members to talk openly rather than worrying about being "nice" or whether they hurt the feelings of others. Create a culture where employees ask hard questions of one another without being defensive. This ensures that people don’t fall into complacency and are constantly thinking and talking about only the most relevant issues and asking the smartest questions.
GRANT AUTONOMY AND INSPIRE RESPONSIBILITY
At a small company with a big vision, even the most junior employees bear a lot of responsibility. Hold people accountable to big expectations plus give them the autonomy to make their own decisions (with minimal guidance). This creates an atmosphere of resourcefulness that strongly supports creativity.
DON'T FORGET.....DER NER NER....THE FUN FACTOR!
Perhaps you remember attending dreaded corporate holiday parties and unbearably long weekly meetings? There's a reason why you work at a small business instead of a giant corporation. Besides the alluring benefits of flexibility, it’s simply much more fun. Yet small-business owners often tend to replicate the corporate work environment they’re familiar with in order to encourage productivity and a sense of job security in team members.
Forget all the rules. (yay)
Host fun happy hours.
Give thoughtful gifts and experiences.
Even pull office pranks.
A playful work environment creates a level of trust where creativity flows more freely. Plus, a fun job gives your employees immense bragging rights. And lo and behold, you may attract more great talent to join your team.
Go get 'em Tiger!