A few notes on building a culture of creativity
January 12, 2012
It's easy for the world of business to bog you down. It's even easier to for the tiresome aspects of running a business to forge a culture of bland expression and lackluster innovation. But why is that? For one, the sheer monotony of commuting to the same place every day with the same people can take a toll on one's creativity. After all, inspiration comes from new experiences, not routine.
That being said, how can you, as manager, forge a workplace environment that is more conducive to creativity and innovation?
To start, take a look at everything in your business that is cyclical, monotonous or vapid. Then, snuff it out. That's not to say all routines are antithetical to proper business management. Some routines or schedules are downright vital. But when it comes to inspiring innovation, you need to keep your people on their toes.
Toward that end, consider implementing a greater sense of autonomy and initiative among your workers. You need to rid your company - or at least your creative staff - of all hierarchy. When it comes to brainstorming, ranks and titles do little more than intimidate and stifle free thought.
"Granting autonomy also involves extending trust," writes Josh Linkner for Inc. magazine. "By definition, your team may make decisions you would have made differently. The key is to provide a clear message of what results you are looking for or what problem you want the team to solve. From there, you need to extend trust and let them do their best work."
Another way to stir ideas is to employ greater diversity in the workplace - not merely in terms of people and backgrounds, but ideas themselves. Consider some of those quirky HR techniques such as an open-book policy. Look at the Google aptitude test for inspiration for interview questions. Any time you feel a knee-jerk reaction against an idea or policy, stop and ask yourself why. With some level-headed thought, some of those ideas may be the foundation of something truly original.
"Diversity in all its shapes, colors and flavors helps build creative cultures," Linkner adds. "Diversity of people and thought; diversity of work experiences, religions, nationalities, hobbies, political beliefs, races, sexual preference, age, musical tastes and even favorite sports teams. The magic really happens when diverse perspectives and experiences come together to form something entirely new."