A creative environment is no longer essential only for writers, musicians, and other artistic professionals, but also in every workplace where innovation plays a key role. Gaining momentum to meet and surpass your competition in any market happens only when employees are motivated to come up with new ideas. Managers may be wary of permitting too much range when it comes to creativity in the workplace, but finding balance is necessary.
Creativity is the driving force behind many companies. It's a personality trait that helps bring us, smartphones, touchscreen laptops, and now even self-driving cars. These innovations can stem from what we call an "aha moment," or the quick glimpse of an idea that flashes into your mind. Without the ability to give thought to these new ideas, creativity would come to a screeching halt in many organizations.
Research suggests that creativity is determined by a multitude of traits, behaviors, and social influences for each person. These four steps will help your organization find the balance between being fully focused on the task at hand and allowing innovation.
Encourage "meetings of the minds" among employees.
Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Allow employees to spend time bouncing ideas off of each other and collaborating without interference. An employee will generally be more productive on their creative ideas when they can work out the problem they are hoping to solve. Promote creative thoughts by inspiring teamwork, supplying communication tools, and understanding roles.
When employees can determine their own work hours based on when they are most creative and productive, each party will benefit. When a creative idea strikes at 3 a.m., let the employee work for a few hours and build out that idea. If that means starting later or working less the following day, the company will still get the best out of the creativity of that employee.
Supply room to grow (and fail).
Perfection is not a term often used for extremely creative personalities - not because they don't try, but simply because they are acting on their aha moments. Being confident in employees who are risk-takers with lots of new ideas is essential to a company's growth. Author Steven Kotler said it best: "Creatives fail, and the really good ones fail often." The first step of that process is allowing each employee the space to take chances.
Take passion into account.
Creative people are motivated by their passions rather than the goals set for them by outsiders. When given a box to stay in, creativity is lacking unless it aligns with "passion projects" of their own. Dr. Heather Myers explained that passion is a "strong desire and dedication" and employees who are passionate about their responsibilities will only further enable creativity.
Of course, this is only the start to helping employees achieve their goals - not only the standard everyday goals, but also the creative ideas they have in mind.