Top Tips for Boosting Creativity in the Workplace

Bosses and business leaders are increasingly keen to encourage creativity in the workplace. And for good reason; it’s becoming recognised that being ‘creative’ isn’t an asset solely confined to the arts and marketing arenas; in fact, in all areas of business, creativity is a catalyst for success and innovation. Free-thinking and well-nurtured minds are a powerful business asset, with the potential to conceive of revolutionary new ideas to aid business growth.

So, how can companies tap into the massive creative potential of the individuals in their workforce? The key is to cultivate a working environment that actively encourages creative thinking, making it explicit to employees that their unique contributions are valued.

Training and development

Formal training may seem an anathema to the creative process, but in fact, many adults do need support to get their creative juices flowing. The ‘Eureka!’ moment doesn’t always just happen out of the blue – our minds need to be nurtured and exercised in order to improve creativity and recognise the potential of our ideas.

Creativity training offers a safe environment for people to begin to unleash their mental power, while also providing an explicit endorsement for employees that may lack confidence, showing them that it’s OK to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. Regular workshops and training sessions can send a powerful message to workers, as well as giving them ample opportunities to boost their creative skills. Sessions like mindfulness workshops are more indirect, but can also give our minds the space they need to thrive.

Breaking down boundaries

Many workplaces have traditionally been segregated places – both physically and operationally. It seems to make practical sense for teams all working in the same field to sit together – so the accounting department will get on with their tasks, entirely separately from the product development team.

Trends like hotdesking attempt to break down those boundaries, encouraging people to interact with others from all areas of the company by mixing up the seating arrangements. It’s a good idea to consult colleagues before implementing hot desks, however; many people require a space of their own in order to fulfil their potential. Break-out and chill-out areas dotted around the workplace can achieve something similar, as can getting people together on a regular basis to eat lunch and chat informally.

Adopt a culture of creativity

There’s nothing more satisfying than being given due recognition for an idea you originated – or, indeed, seeing it grow from the germ of a concept, right through to its physical realisation. So, with a healthy company culture, it’s possible to boost creativity in the workplace by making it rewarding for staff.

For true creativity to thrive, it’s important to create a relaxed environment with no fear of failure. Brainstorming sessions often involve thoughts and ideas that don’t always lead to a ground-breaking innovation – but the process of getting the ideas out there is really important. Employees need to know that risk-taking – vital for creativity to flourish – is allowed and actively encouraged.

Creative ideas should be part of day-to-day working life. It’s good to give employees plenty of chances to contribute their thoughts, ideas and viewpoints, whether through an anonymous suggestion box (important for those feeling self-conscious or unwilling to criticise the current status quo) or perhaps an online discussion forum. Perpetuate the attitude that everyone’s viewpoint is valuable, whatever their position in the organisation.

Allowing employees to work on their own projects, and build a sense of ownership around their ideas, is a great way to build motivation, leading to increased employee happiness and wellbeing.

Let people play

As children, we’re naturally creative. Whether expressing ourselves through paint and clay, or engaging in imaginative role-play, our creative selves are given room to develop. As adults, this often changes, and a combination of social inhibition and more pressing priorities can suppress this natural instinct.

By encouraging employees to be more playful and offering genuine space and time to express their ideas, companies can awaken our dormant creative sides and let them come to the fore. There are many ways to boost creativity and innovation in the workplace, from installing fun facilities in the workplace, teaching crafts, and encouraging people to listen to music or customise their workspace. Away-days can help teams to develop creative approaches to problem-solving, while getting outside the office to hold a meeting in a different environment can help people to think outside the box.

Creative business approaches

Here are some useful video resources for businesses wanting to increase creativity.

·         How to be more creative (Horizon) explains the science behind ideas, exploring what happens in our brains when inspiration hits.

·         Inside Saatchi & Saatchi is a chance to go behind the scenes in an agency synonymous with creativity, to find out how creative professionals approach a big business brief.