Fostering creativity and innovation (and not just talking about it)

support creativityFostering creativity and innovation is something that all leaders talk about.  It’s a strategic component in growth and sustaining prominence and dynamism within a competitive market.

It’s also a great way of bringing out the best in people and adapting quickly and effectively to change.

But talking and doing rarely go hand-in-hand.

Despite all our good intentions, fostering creativity and innovation is something that’s given lip service but rarely actioned.   All too often, creativity can be curbed.  People, systems and processes try to fit them neatly into a mould and innovative ideas are put aside to look at another day.

But what does fostering creativity and innovation actually mean?

Well, in short, it means that as an organisation you’re actively promoting and encouraging new ideas from your employees.  It could be ideas that will help to make the business slicker such as streamlining work practices, or it could be suggestions on how to improve the organisation’s products or services.

Here are a few practices to adopt to make sure that creativity and innovation are at the forefront of your organisation’s agenda.

  1. Actively encourage new ideas, risk-taking and that good old entrepreneurial spirit – offer incentives to employees who come up with viable and innovative suggestions.   The incentives don’t necessarily have to be financial either – many people are happy for the recognition or simply to add it to their portfolio.
  1. Encourage inter-departmental brainstorming and/or working.  Bringing in different perspectives, skillsets and abilities can bring in a whole new dimension of thinking.  Diverse teams very often work together to create much more refreshing results.
  1. Communicate the creative message – if your teams and talent are aware that creativity and innovation is actively encouraged, then they’re less likely to shy away from offering ideas.  If they think that their manager will be given the glory for their brilliant idea, or that their idea will fall on deaf ears, they’ll be much less forthcoming. So make sure everyone knows that their own unique ideas will be considered.
  1. Make sure everyone is aware of the process of offering ideas and that everyone has an equal opportunity to be involved.  From that initial suggestion to the final decision as to whether to pursue a project, it’s important that the steps are clear for all to see.
  1. Set aside special budgets for trialling new and enterprising projects and make sure that progress and plans are communicated throughout the organisation.  Regardless of whether the plan eventually comes to fruition, the actual process of taking steps towards new, previously untapped potentials can be very empowering to employees, project teams and leaders.
  1. If a project is successful, it should be celebrated.  And if it’s not successful, then feedback is key to keep encouraging future ideas.

Adopting the right culture is paramount to fostering creativity and innovation.  If done properly, it can impact on every aspect of how you work.  It can contribute to a healthy working environment, usher in positive energy, motivate staff and ensure that the organisation is forward-thinking.  So, what do you do in your organisation to foster creativity and innovation?

If you’re short on ideas, then why not contact us?  We’re experts in identifying and fostering creativity and innovation and we’d love to share our knowledge with you.

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