In recent history, instances of creativity being the driving force behind the enormous success of certain companies are not few. In some cases, they started humbly, but over time they became giant multinational corporations with great influence and impact on global economy.
Outstanding examples of this like Apple, Facebook or Google are already part of public imagination and show that organizations encouraging creative thinking among their professionals are, precisely, the ones that stand out as the most innovative.
This pairing between creativity and innovation is increasingly spreading over organizations, integrating it into their corporate culture in order to generate new ideas and strategies to make their businesses thrive.
As inferred from a study commissioned by Adobe in 2014, based on interviews conducted with more than 300 senior managers, 55% of those who claimed that their company encourages creativity made at least 10% greater profit in 2013 than in 2012. Only 20% of the “not-so-creative” companies had a similar outcome.
The adoption of creative thinking as one of the cornerstones of innovation and performance enhancement represents a significant challenge for companies. It can only be achieved by learning from experiences shared by other organizations and taking good notice from team management experts’ advice.
Techniques to encourage creative thinking
Some of the practices that help the most to enhance creativity are related with the way professionals work and interact. Among them we can find “cross-pollination”, which revolves around creating heterogeneous teams comprised of people with different abilities and strengths.
Sometimes it only takes what Ruth Sacks, Business Development Manager at University of Westminster’s business school, suggests doing: “Compel employees to sit each day at a different place in the office, listen to those people in the team involved in a project, learn from them and share knowledge”.
For her part, Karima Mariama-Arthur, member of the advisor team at Forbes, bets on providing more autonomy to teams in order to work at a high level, since “when teams are micromanaged they drown, they lose the desire to create, innovate and move freely around their area of expertise”.
Another technique is the one suggested by Billy Williams, member of Forbes’ team of experts, who advocates for leaving brainstorming behind to “encourage all team members to put forward 3 to 5 creative proposals for a project”. This initiative contributes to level the playing field for both introverted and extroverted professionals and avoids unnecessary pressures regarding contributions within the team.
The importance of working environment
The working environment has also a remarkable influence on employees’ creativity. According to a study by the multinational company Interface, professionals who work in offices with plants and other natural elements generate more ideas and are 15% more productive.
Music at the workplace is also a contributing factor to creative thinking given its ability to improve mental well-being and overall mood in the staff members, thus generating a positive working environment as well.
This set of principles would not be complete without technology, which is, for 62% of the interviewees in the aforementioned Adobe study, a decisive factor that allows human capital to innovate and find creative solutions to problems.