Design. Architecture. Advertising. Photography. Film. Arts. Music.
These are just some of the industries and occupations that have traditionally been associated with the creative process. However, this narrow focus on creativity is quickly becoming redundant.
As we operate in an ever-changing world, the ability to ‘think outside the square’ has become a highly sought-after skill. And the workplaces that nurture creative cultures, where innovation is encouraged, will be well placed to stay ahead of the competition.
The future is creative.
New products and new technologies have changed the way we work. Manual processes we used to perform can now be automated. Think customer service chat bots. Smart supermarket trolleys with imaging technology that ‘sees’ each product you buy and eliminates the need for a human checkout. And of course driverless cars – sorry taxi drivers.
As jobs with repetitive tasks disappear, we’ll be asked to add value through more thoughtful, creative roles. The ability to find solutions to complex problems will be prized. As will the skillset required to develop new services and products that meet the needs of future customers.
You’ve probably heard of Amazon and Apple.
It’s easy to see examples of companies that have thrived by being creative. Many have become household names.
Take Amazon. 20 years ago, they started selling books online. Then it was music, DVDs and before long everything else. They’ve built the world’s biggest cloud services business (Amazon Web Services) and one of the world’s biggest streaming channels (Amazon Prime Video). They’ve developed the Alexa (voice control environment), Kindle and Fire TV. And so on and so on.
Apple is another excellent example. They started off making personal computers. Then iPhones, iPads and iWatches. They added iTunes, iCloud, Apple TV, Apple Pay and Apple Fitness. And rumour has it they will soon be developing an Apple electric car!
5 ways to nurture creativity in the workplace.
1. Allow mistakes to happen.
Innovation is often a matter of trial and error. Employees need to be encouraged to try a new approach or bring new ideas to the table without worrying about the consequences.
2. Creativity is for everyone.
It’s important to encourage collaboration and connection across all areas of the business – instead of keeping each department in their own ‘box’. Customer service might have a good idea for accounts who might have a good idea for marketing who might have a good idea for sales. Let ideas flow!
3. Change the scene.
It’s tough to be creative if you’re sitting in the same place at the same time. Why not hold a meeting at a local café. Or have a brainstorming session at the park down the street. Breaking up the routine may be the spark that’s needed!
4. Put aside creative time.
When workloads are heavy, ‘creative thinking’ goes on the backburner. But if you’re serious about nurturing creativity, dedicated ‘creative time’ is essential. For example, Google encourages its employees to spend 20% of their week working on Google’s passion projects. This led to AdSense, Gmail and Google Chat!
5. Design a creative office.
Breakthroughs probably won’t happen if you’re head-down stuck in a cubicle! Open spaces that encourage communication and collaboration are ideal. Artwork, lighting, plants, personal photos, bean bags and games can also create an atmosphere where employees feel more comfortable and creative. Use your imagination!
Quotes to ponder…
“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.” – Albert Einstein
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” – Edward de Bono
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss
Creativity is needed – now more than ever!
As we go to press, Auckland has just come out of its third lockdown. A timely reminder that businesses need a creative approach to how they operate. COVID presented numerous challenges to many companies over the past 12 months. It will no doubt pose even more. Being able to survive, or indeed thrive, may well depend on creativity.