10 Steps to Inspire Creativity in Your Employees

10 Steps to Inspire Creativity in Your Employees

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 · 19 Comments

Inspiring creativity in your employees is one of the most important things you can do for your company’s success. Studies have shown that companies that foster creativity and innovation are 50% more likely to outperform their industry peers.

One of the best ways to increase creativity and innovation is by providing an environment which encourages employees to think differently and come up with new ideas. Here are 10 steps you can take to inspire creativity in your employees:

Are you looking for ways to inspire creativity in your employees?

You’re not alone. According to the 10th Global CEO Survey, innovation and growth are the top priorities for businesses today. CEOs are on the hunt for new ideas and creative solutions as they struggle to keep up with a rapidly changing business world.

The problem is, many employees are afraid of being wrong and making mistakes. They’re so focused on doing things perfectly that they never take any risks, which means they never come up with any novel solutions either.

If you want your employees to think outside the box, you have to make them feel safe enough to do so. In this post, I’ll show you how.

1. Add Some Spice to Your Workplace

Your workplace is a reflection of your company’s culture. If it’s monotonous, it’s probably time for a change. Try adding some color or spice your office up with some exotic plants. Fresh flowers and plants can help make the atmosphere more vibrant and are proven to boost creativity. Depending on the aesthetic you want to create, you can add anything from tropical plants to succulents or simply a bouquet of flowers in the reception area.

2. Mix It Up With Your Coworkers

“The more diverse your network is, the more creative your solution will be,” said Kirk Dando, chairman of the psychology department at Middle Tennessee State University. So get out there and start mingling! Besides improving employee morale and fostering relationships, encouraging employees to mix it up with their coworkers could boost creativity in the workplace. Take lunch breaks together, start a book club or simply go out for team happy hour once a week.

3. Get Some Fresh Air

If you’re looking for an easy way to inspire creativity in your employees, take them outside for a walk around the block. A study by the University of Kansas found that frequent walkers had more creative ideas than those who didn’t walk as often.

Many companies are looking for new and better ways to foster creativity within their organizations in order to remain competitive in the market place. In his book, “Creativity Inc.,” Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, writes about how Pixar has been able to maintain a culture of creativity since its founding in 1986.

The following are 10 practices that can help you create a more creative environment for your employees.

1. Give everyone ownership over their work

When people are given the freedom to pursue projects that they feel passionate about, they will often make breakthroughs that lead to innovative products and services. In the book “Drive,” author Daniel Pink explains why autonomy is essential for employee engagement and motivation.

2. Encourage collaboration

Many people think that innovation comes from having individuals working alone on a problem or project. However, innovation often comes from collaboration between individuals who bring different ideas and perspectives to the table. Google’s 20% Time Policy encourages employees to spend one day per week working on personal projects that are unrelated to their job description. This policy has produced several innovative products such as Gmail and AdSense.

3. Focus on the process not just the outcome

Employees should be encouraged to take risks and try new things even if

It’s a sad but true fact that even the most productive employees can hit a wall when it comes to creativity. Creativity is one of the most valuable assets of any business, and without it, employees can become bored, apathetic and unproductive. However, you can easily break through this barrier with these simple steps.

1. Allow for spontaneity

Although some people thrive off of having strict schedules and deadlines, others need some free reign to be creative. Setting specific times for brainstorming sessions or allowing employees to work on whatever they want for a few hours each week will give them a chance to relax and express themselves freely.

2. Offer perks

Everyone loves getting a little something extra every now and then, so why not incorporate some simple perks into your regular routine? Set aside time on Friday afternoons for employees to play games together or host an in-office happy hour with free beer. You’ll be surprised at how much morale improves!

3. Take suggestions

Does one of your employees have an idea that you don’t think is worth pursuing? Rather than dismissing it outright, take the time to listen to them and see if they can convince you otherwise. Even if their idea isn’t feasible right

1. Allocate the right amount of resources.

2. Give employees enough autonomy to do their jobs successfully.

3. Create a distraction-free environment.

4. Encourage brainstorming and idea sharing.

5. Provide opportunities for professional development and training.

6. Reward creativity and innovation, even if it doesn’t result in a breakthrough product or service.

7. Offer incentives, bonuses and contests to encourage creative thinking.

8. Strive for workplace diversity of thought, age, race and gender.

9. Encourage humor at work.

10. Foster collaboration between your employees.

1. Ensure employees have an adequate amount of time to think – no matter what the task.

2. Offer employees a variety of settings in which to work and provide them with the opportunity to move freely between these settings.

3. Encourage the use of visual language, such as drawings and diagrams, in communicating ideas.

4. Set aside resources and time for employees to explore new skills, concepts and technologies on their own.

5. Require employees to take on tasks outside their comfort zone.

6. Challenge employees to look at problems from different perspectives by drawing upon information from various sources.

7. Foster open communication among employees through casual interactions, personal discussions and group meetings such as staff lunches or retreats

8. Emphasize employee autonomy by giving them control over what they do, how they do it, when they do it and who they work with; include employees in the decision-making process whenever possible

9. Encourage collaboration among employees and avoid excessive or unnecessary competition; encourage individuals to take turns taking leadership roles when working in groups or teams

10. Place emphasis on transparency – particularly in terms of data sharing, task definition, expectations and feedback

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