21ST CENTURY JOB SKILLS BLOG


How to Inspire Creative Thinking in Your Workplace


Nov 23, 2020






How to Encourage Creative Thinking In Your Workplace 

 

“Imagineers.”

 

It’s what Walt Disney called his team of animators, storytellers, and technicians. Together, they made stories come alive and created an entertainment empire beyond what anyone else had ever imagined.

 

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Disney mused.

 

Why You Should Emphasize Creative Thinking in the Workplace

 

Once upon a time, creativity used to be a term applied to artists and inventors. But not all creative thinking involves fairy tales, princesses, or amusement parks. Corporate life was (supposedly) about numbers and procedures, not creativity, but the reality is -- inventiveness is imperative for success in any venue.

 

Creative thinking isn’t about drawing or stories. It’s about being able to take multiple approaches to solving a problem. The reason businesses exist is to solve problems for their clients. Innovative solutions make a corporation stand apart from the multitudes.

 

Creative employees usher in new opportunities for your business and have the ability to bring new solutions to difficult problems. There is no doubt creative thinking can give birth to something which can revolutionize the world.

 

Unleashing the creatives...

 

So break out those easels and yoga classes, get rid of the desks and paint the walls vibrant colors so we can start creating, right? Embrace the chaos! Something will come of it.

 

That may help, but making room for creative thinking doesn’t mean throwing all order out the window. The best creatives will tell you that creativity needs structure. Which is why, inspiring creativity in your team members means that you need to manage for creativity.

 

So what can you do? There are several ways to foster Imagination in your employees and make it a central part of the workplace. The key is to road test a variety of different strategies and see what works and what doesn't.

 

Encourage free thinking and communication

 

Give your workers time to think and reward creativity. There are a number of ways to do this:

 

1. Hold competitions: Adam Robinson describes how his company hosted hackathons so that teams could come together and brainstorm new and innovative solutions. The collaboration strengthened workplace relationships and invigorated ideation.

 

However, they found that because the competitions were technically-focused, those who weren’t technical didn’t have the opportunity to become engaged. Also, those who were less competitive by nature didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as those who were.

 

2. Provide multiple ways to submit ideas: Companies like Facebook and Google offer several ways to submit ideas and feedback, including ways that guarantee anonymity. Workers can contribute to the company culture in whatever way they are most comfortable.

 

3. Encourage side projects:  f their work time to side projects -- areas where they see a need that isn’t a sanctioned project -- have happier employees and have seen enormous success with ideas that workers have developed.

 

Google is a company that is devoted to this practice. Because of their side project policy, breakthroughs like Gmail and Google Maps came into being.

 

Other products that started out as side projects are sites like Slack, Groupon, and Twitter.

 

4. Provide support that allows these projects to blossom: Robinson also pointed out that great ideas often stay great ideas without a support structure that moves these ideas toward implementation. His company set up employee resource groups to take good ideas and make them a reality.

 

5. Create a culture that makes room for mistakes: *BOOM* Okay, that one is hard. But the reality is, if workers can’t make mistakes in the creative process, they’re not going to create. Creative thinking is a child’s play. If you take away the ability to be safe and have fun, then it’s not going to happen. Let your workers release their inner children, and then see what happens.

 

Every idea isn’t going to be genius -- or at the very least, implementable or useful to the company’s mission -- but workers need the freedom to explore them without penalty.

 

As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work…”

 

Attempt #10,001 changed the world.  

 

6. Have a stimulating office environment: Wall color, temperature, and lighting all add to the morale and stimulate the mind. Dull colors and bad lighting feel like prison. An office that is too hot or too cold shuts down people’s brains (Women function better in slightly warmer environments, so find a temperature that works for everyone, as much as possible -- usually the mid 70’s, Fahrenheit).

 

7. Hire diverse talent: A staff with the same background, experiences, and expertise doesn’t bring in new ideas and experiences. Commit to having a diverse workforce and let that diversity stimulate Innovation in the workplace. Sharing differences and learning from each other makes that happen organically.

 

Where Do You Start to Encourage Creative Thinking in the Workplace?

 

Start with one or two actionable items. You don’t have to overhaul the entire company culture at once. What works for Google or Facebook may not work with your company or teams. Find what works well for you.

 

Open yourself up to possibilities. Trial and error is okay. Get feedback from your teams to see what’s working, what isn’t, and let them offer other ideas.

 

Interested in Going Deeper?

 

Our courses on Creativity and Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability are designed for the working professionals who don’t have a lot of time and need to put their learning to use right away to benefit their teams.

 

This is actually specific to google, maybe some other companies followed suite but it is specific to google as far as my research went.

How to Encourage Creative Thinking In Your Workplace 

 

“Imagineers.”

 

It’s what Walt Disney called his team of animators, storytellers, and technicians. Together, they made stories come alive and created an entertainment empire beyond what anyone else had ever imagined.

 

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Disney mused.

 

Why You Should Emphasize Creative Thinking in the Workplace

 

Once upon a time, creativity used to be a term applied to artists and inventors. But not all creative thinking involves fairy tales, princesses, or amusement parks. Corporate life was (supposedly) about numbers and procedures, not creativity, but the reality is -- inventiveness is imperative for success in any venue.

 

Creative thinking isn’t about drawing or stories. It’s about being able to take multiple approaches to solving a problem. The reason businesses exist is to solve problems for their clients. Innovative solutions make a corporation stand apart from the multitudes.

 

Creative employees usher in new opportunities for your business and have the ability to bring new solutions to difficult problems. There is no doubt creative thinking can give birth to something which can revolutionize the world.

 

Unleashing the creatives...

 

So break out those easels and yoga classes, get rid of the desks and paint the walls vibrant colors so we can start creating, right? Embrace the chaos! Something will come of it.

 

That may help, but making room for creative thinking doesn’t mean throwing all order out the window. The best creatives will tell you that creativity needs structure. Which is why, inspiring creativity in your team members means that you need to manage for creativity.

 

So what can you do? There are several ways to foster Imagination in your employees and make it a central part of the workplace. The key is to road test a variety of different strategies and see what works and what doesn't.

 

Encourage free thinking and communication

 

Give your workers time to think and reward creativity. There are a number of ways to do this:

 

1. Hold competitions: Adam Robinson describes how his company hosted hackathons so that teams could come together and brainstorm new and innovative solutions. The collaboration strengthened workplace relationships and invigorated ideation.

 

However, they found that because the competitions were technically-focused, those who weren’t technical didn’t have the opportunity to become engaged. Also, those who were less competitive by nature didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as those who were.

 

2. Provide multiple ways to submit ideas: Companies like Facebook and Google offer several ways to submit ideas and feedback, including ways that guarantee anonymity. Workers can contribute to the company culture in whatever way they are most comfortable.

 

3. Encourage side projects:  f their work time to side projects -- areas where they see a need that isn’t a sanctioned project -- have happier employees and have seen enormous success with ideas that workers have developed.

 

Google is a company that is devoted to this practice. Because of their side project policy, breakthroughs like Gmail and Google Maps came into being.

 

Other products that started out as side projects are sites like Slack, Groupon, and Twitter.

 

4. Provide support that allows these projects to blossom: Robinson also pointed out that great ideas often stay great ideas without a support structure that moves these ideas toward implementation. His company set up employee resource groups to take good ideas and make them a reality.

 

5. Create a culture that makes room for mistakes: *BOOM* Okay, that one is hard. But the reality is, if workers can’t make mistakes in the creative process, they’re not going to create. Creative thinking is a child’s play. If you take away the ability to be safe and have fun, then it’s not going to happen. Let your workers release their inner children, and then see what happens.

 

Every idea isn’t going to be genius -- or at the very least, implementable or useful to the company’s mission -- but workers need the freedom to explore them without penalty.

 

As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work…”

 

Attempt #10,001 changed the world.  

 

6. Have a stimulating office environment: Wall color, temperature, and lighting all add to the morale and stimulate the mind. Dull colors and bad lighting feel like prison. An office that is too hot or too cold shuts down people’s brains (Women function better in slightly warmer environments, so find a temperature that works for everyone, as much as possible -- usually the mid 70’s, Fahrenheit).

 

7. Hire diverse talent: A staff with the same background, experiences, and expertise doesn’t bring in new ideas and experiences. Commit to having a diverse workforce and let that diversity stimulate Innovation in the workplace. Sharing differences and learning from each other makes that happen organically.

 

Where Do You Start to Encourage Creative Thinking in the Workplace?

 

Start with one or two actionable items. You don’t have to overhaul the entire company culture at once. What works for Google or Facebook may not work with your company or teams. Find what works well for you.

 

Open yourself up to possibilities. Trial and error is okay. Get feedback from your teams to see what’s working, what isn’t, and let them offer other ideas.

 

Interested in Going Deeper?

 

Our courses on Creativity and Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability are designed for the working professionals who don’t have a lot of time and need to put their learning to use right away to benefit their teams.

 

This is actually specific to google, maybe some other companies followed suite but it is specific to google as far as my research went.



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