Creativity is a word that gets bandied about all the time; “oh we must be more creative”, “we’re not creative enough”. But what is creativity? And how do you “get” creative?
It’s not about pretty pictures but to me creativity is about approaching the same task in a new way, or being open to changing a business process. Creativity comes into all our roles, or at least it should do, in different ways.
How do we enable our teams to be more creative? It starts and end with trust and creating a safe environment to experiment. If you don’t trust those around you how can you be open to trying something new or changing something for the better? Creating safety, really sticking by the idiom “there’s no such thing as a stupid idea” and not attacking an idea before it’s given room to grow.
You must be able to challenge each other so that ideas can flourish and expand as very few new ideas or concepts are fully formed the minute they leave someones mouth or inbox.
Don’t force the issue. Very often “brainstorming” ends up being “brain-stumping” as we don’t feel confident that our ideas will be well received or we’re not given enough time to prepare or we’re not sure about the people in the room. So take these issues into account the next time you want to “brainstorm”. Maybe asking questions in advance or taking the discussion to another location or just removing the chairs and desks can all help.
Don’t let anyone shut anyone down before they’ve had room to expand. My tendency is to think how things wont work rather than how they might, so I have learnt to note those things to myself for when ideas are taken to the detail level, at least that’s always my intention.
Flow. Giving people room to expand, nurture and let their ideas flow, or go off on a tangent, can also help. Think of an idea as a ripple in water, it starts small and then expands and gets bigger. If you stifle the process, you will only get half the idea.