Creativity stimulates innovation, creates progress and allows for growth. The importance of creativity may seem like a “No duh” concept on the surface but allowing space in your company for creativity is a common challenge.
A software company like ours needs to be flexible and open-minded for it to thrive beyond a single product life cycle. Here at Webconnex, creativity is a cornerstone of our company. Whether our team is solving problems, helping craft new ideas and creating new directions; it takes creativity.
Teams that are never encouraged to think about new ideas create ruts in ways of thinking. Though they could be a well-oiled machine, they may never evolve to fulfill its full potential. On the opposite spectrum are teams that are constantly thinking of great ideas but never execute. These teams will lack forward movement because the act of creating new ideas becomes a distraction. This is where balance in creativity and efficiency come into play.
Creativity is important, so how do we weld it into our daily patterns and company culture in a balanced way to propel us forward?
1. Make time to Collaborate
The first step in stimulating creativity is collaborating with others. The idea of one man is dangerous because it lacks the insight of multiple perspectives and experiences. However, with multiple insights, an idea is able to be sharpened. When there is a problem with the product, it’s helpful to brainstorm with multiple people to see how they view the problem and the solution, helping the team to come up with a more successful solution.
2. Make time to Separate
Creativity is sparked by separating yourself as well. The noise of everyday life makes it difficult to block out distractions in order to have a clear focus on the tasks at hand. Whether you are an artist, accountant or business manager, intentional uninterrupted time is needed to work on new projects, research, and allow the mind to wander out of the box. We found that Google has implemented a ‘20%’ policy where 1 day a week, their employees can work on side projects that interest them. This stimulates their creativity and grows their knowledge to be applied to current projects within Google. In the same way, you’d budget money to what is most important, the same applies to time. Strategically budgeting time to practice and work on the things you really want to work on will build a creative rhythm with your day to day cycles.
3. Make time to Experiment
The only way to see if an idea is successful is to experiment. Most businesses are fearful to experiment and see it as lost time (i.e. lost money) when in theory, experimentation is the catalyst to evolution. Experiments are not always successful but if it fails your team is equipped with more information than they had before. Pixar used their short films as experiments to see which directors had potential to handle a full-fledged film. They wrote off the costs as research and development. At Webconnex, we experiment new processes to see ways we can become more efficient, if not, we scrap the idea. Creating an atmosphere that encourages experimentation with new ideas and processes, allows your team to explore beyond the box and truly fulfill the full potential of the product’s capabilities.
When a leader in a company invites an atmosphere of creativity it can create a nourishing environment for the team members. If leaders don’t invite diverse ideas the product will not meet its full potential. Similarly, if team members themselves don’t contribute their thoughts and perspectives, they could be missing the next big idea. Each team member, no matter what department, brings a unique perspective to sharpen the ideas being presented and in turn continues to evolve the product. Creativity and inclusion could allow for your company to either keep the pace or set the pace of the world around us.
What are some ways you allow for creativity to influence your work? Do you find scheduling time out to work for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts on creativity in the workplace!