When I think of creativity, I picture painters, musicians, digital illustrators, etc. I don’t associate creativity with most office-based positions, nor do I consider my role in Talent Acquisition creative. On the whole, I tend to regard myself the opposite. It came as a surprise when my sister shared a statistic which outlined the importance of creativity and how it’s often thought to be the most important skill set in business. IBM even called creativity the biggest factor for future success.
This made me think about the definition of creativity and how I can be creative in my work role.
What is creativity & why is it important
According to Creativity at Work, ‘creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.’ Being creative is the opposite of routine; every time you practise something new, you’re using your brain’s creativity.
I hadn’t viewed innovation and problem solving as a creative trait. I link these skills to decision making, team work, intelligence. Although I believe some challenges will need to be solved through a systematic approach, having creative thinkers that are able to bring new ideas, processes and ways of thinking will certainly help achieve positive result more quickly.
Managers can influence creativity
As creativity is key to innovation, it’s important managers and business leaders help encourage their teams to practice creativity. Google, arguable one of the most innovative companies in the world, utilises a 20% innovation rule. Associates are able to spend 20% of their working week dedicated to side projects and creative thinking.
Many people under value creativity’s importance. Leaders should lead by example and allow their team flexibility and time to express imagination. Whether that’s letting them have free reign over a process or encouraging them to take part in creative activities during lunch. Businesses can suffer if creativity is stifled.
Additionally, in a world of automation and technology, our creative thinking will set up apart. According to We Work, with ‘new products, new technologies, and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.’ As intellect becomes less important (being replaced with tech), imagination and creativity will gain a higher value.
5 ways managers can encourage their team’s creativity:
- Put together a personality test. Last year at work, my global team took place in a personality / skills test ran by Gallup. This test analysed the skills of associates and allowed managers to place individuals in projects that best suited their ability. This is a fantastic way to support creativity. If managers align projects to the skills and wants of their teams members, their teams will naturally flourish and be more creative. You’re also able to match different personalities – alone, certain individuals may not be creative, but when paired together, merge to be very imaginative.
- Implement creative breaks. Let your team spend time on a walk, reading, brainstorming, etc.
- Ensure your team feels safe. It’s important your team feels safe to analyse and question certain policies or ideas, even if those policies have been designed by senior management. One way to do this is by praising your team when they go against traditional methods with new ways of thinking.
- Create an artistic environment. On publication Invaluable, they mention studies which show viewing art can decrease stress and support mental health. How interesting is your workplace environment?
- Discuss creativity individually in appraisals. Many people don’t believe they’re creative so discussing with your team what creative processes they’ve already implemented may inspire them find ways to be more inventive.
Read next: The Impact of Perception in the Workplace