The Importance Of Unleashing Creativity And Innovation In Your Team


COO and CIO at Yooz Inc., leading product innovation road maps and strategic partnerships.

You could fill volumes with all the quotes ever made about creativity. From “Creativity is intelligence having fun” to famed poet Maya Angelou saying, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” These quotes inspire us about the joy and critical importance of creativity.

Perhaps one of the best quotes about creativity, as it relates to a business setting, is attributed to an unlikely source. John Cleese, a founding member of British comedy troupe Monty Python, once expressed, “If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”

Yet, many organizations fail to encourage their members to innovate, aspire beyond the status quo and just plain have fun. But it’s never too late to break free from a creative rut. 

Why Creativity In Business Matters

According to McKinsey & Company’s award creativity score (ACS), there’s a direct link between an organization’s financial performance and its penchant for creativity (or at least winning awards for creativity). Of the firms deemed creative by McKinsey’s metrics, 67% showed above-average revenue growth, 70% exhibited above-average returns to shareholders and 74% scored above-average net enterprise values.

Why such impressive returns for showing imagination and ingenuity? Simply put, creativity ultimately leads to innovation, and innovation creates value. 

Whether through the products they create, the services they offer or how they position themselves to reach their customers, the majority of those ranked as the world’s most innovative organizations are also the most valuable. This holds true in Boston Consulting Group’s ranking, which used a poll of 1,600 innovation professionals to create a list of the 50 most innovative companies of 2021. Creative thinking is vital for coming up with new, innovative solutions to meet customers’ needs or solve their most pressing problems — even, and perhaps especially, problems they’ve yet to discover.

Steve Jobs famously said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Products such as the iPod, iPhone and the iPad speak to the success of that mindset. But creativity is just as crucial to retaining your customer base as growing it. 

For example, an Apple iPhone’s basic form and utility haven’t changed all that much since its introduction in 2007. Yet over the past 15 years, the company has continuously made small yet significant innovations to the device. An evolving user interface, bigger screen, advanced cameras and biometric recognition — all of these have transformed the once novel device into an intuitive, indispensable accessory for business and personal use. 

Beyond what it means for your bottom line and your appeal to customers and investors, creativity benefits your firm in other ways.

First, creativity is a performance booster. Innovative thinking pushes ideas forward even when they seem counterintuitive or outside the box. Encouraging this creates an environment of collaboration and problem-solving that gives your entire team a stake in the outcome. 

Such collective problem solving doesn’t just boost performance but also workplace satisfaction. It makes your organization attractive to top talent, too. Even in a business setting, extending one’s mind to new horizons provides employees a new sense of purpose, worth and pride in knowing that what they do makes a difference. 

Hindrances To Organizational Creativity

If creativity is so important, then why do so many organizations fail to prioritize it? There are several reasons. 

For some organizations, it’s because they operate within an industry not traditionally associated with innovation, such as financial institutions or accounting firms. The reality, however, is that innovation isn’t only about creating new things. It’s also about finding new ways to make processes and workflows more efficient. It often involves identifying and applying new technology to eliminate bottlenecks and reduce the number of tedious, manual tasks involved. Doing this requires ditching the mindset that creativity isn’t part of your job or industry. 

Other organizations fail to embrace creativity because they have a “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mentality. They’ve always done things a certain way and see no need to change, which is an attitude that can lead to stagnation. When this happens, a savvy competitor — one who encourages creative thinking, streamlines processes and automates low-value, manual tasks to give employees more time for what matters — can leave the stagnant organization struggling to keep up.

Encourage Creativity From Your Team

No doubt your company employs plenty of creative talent and hopefully has developed a policy of hiring people with creative tendencies. But how do you go about tapping into that collective ingenuity and imaginativeness? 

As noted in the quote from John Cleese, it starts with giving your team the time to use their intelligence to have fun. While automation and creativity don’t always go hand-in-hand, automation can address manual, time-consuming and repetitive tasks, freeing up time for you and your team to explore your creative side.

Next, create an environment that encourages peer-to-peer engagement and exchanging ideas. You don’t have to reconfigure your office space into a giant open-air atrium, but don’t confine your employees to their offices or cubicles either. Carve out space and time where creatives can meet and discuss the state of the company on a regular schedule. Team-building exercises are excellent tools for getting people outside their comfort zones and thinking beyond their typical day-to-day grind. Do whatever it takes to show your employees they are part of a larger team and that their ideas — whether grounded or grand — can positively impact everyone.

Finally, act on good ideas and reward your team’s creative acumen. It’s not enough to say you want savvy and resourceful team players; it’s necessary to give life to those notions. Spot inspiration when it arises, incorporate the concepts that help move your company forward and reward those who make it happen.

Embracing the lofty ambitions embodied by your team inevitably sets your organization apart. It affects a culture where the best and brightest want to work, current and future audiences want to engage and the creative spirit thrives.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


.



Source link

Leave a Comment