Cultivating creativity in the workplace

When was the last time you had a creative moment? For many of us, life can become a series of tasks, jobs, processes and items to tick off the list. In this blog, we will explore the important skill of creativity and how we can cultivate creative moments for ourselves and others, both at home and in the workplace. 

Definition of Creativity

Creativity is often seen as an art form – whilst it may be for some, creativity is about having space to think differently, to come up with new ideas and to test these out. In the workplace creativity can be anything from creating new inventions, reducing waste, simplifying a process, thinking differently and creating a new culture. 

Benefits of creativity

There are many benefits to being creative in the workplace, which include:

  • For the organisation, you might uncover the next big innovation – in product, service, or something else. 
  • Reduction of waste, including decreasing time, increasing efficiencies.
  • Competitor advantages – bringing things to market quicker and with more innovation.
  • For the individual – a chance to think differently, increase personal development, learn new skills and ways of working. It also ensures your thinking continues to be relevant to the workplace. 

Barriers to creativity

There are often barriers to creativity at an individual, team or business level, which may include:

  • Our mindset – we can decide that we are not creative because we feel our personality preference is not of an artistic nature. Creativity can be seen in many ways, from artistically being creative, to solving problems and innovating. 
  • Time – we can become too busy doing the doing that we don’t allow space for creative thinking. 
  • Closed mindedness – those around us may stifle creativity. In teams you may hear people say “that idea won’t work, we’ve tried it already” 
  • Culture – naturally, creative thinking is about trying new ideas out. If the culture is risk averse or mistake averse, then this can impact people speaking up about new ideas. 
  • Blaming – If the organisation tends to criticise new ideas that don’t work, then people are less likely to speak up.
  • Lack of reward – If the organisation doesn’t align their reward to individuals who are creative, then people may be less likely to share novel ideas. Reward can be praise as well as of monetary value, for example. 

Being more creative!

If you want to get more creative, then the first step is to make some changes, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If you are a leader of a team, communicate that you value being challenged and value diverse thinking. Walk the talk by being vulnerable yourself by sharing ideas that aren’t fully formed. 
  • Create time in your week to think differently about a problem or process. 
  • Brainstorm – From the everyday to the more radical ideas, this is an opportunity for you individually or in a group session exhaust all potential ideas, rather than going for the first one you think of. 
  • Ask others how they see your challenge – what perspectives do they have that you can learn from to see the situation differently?
  • Sitting in the same place everyday isn’t always the most inspiring for new ideas. Consider moving around, walking, or changing where you work from – physically moving gives us a change in perspective. 

Questions to support your thinking

  • What would a radical step look like for this situation?
  • If there were no restrictions, what ideas would you put forward?
  • What does my line manager/peer group/customer think? How does this inform my ideas about this topic?
  • Ask yourself: What else, what else, what else?

Creativity is such an important trait and can be energising to focus on. I encourage you to explore further this month creative moments – both for yourself and others around you. 

If you would like to boost your creativity, coaching can provide that much needed space to reflect and start working on it. Please get in touch to arrange a no obligation initial consultation.

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