10 Feb Encourage Your Teams’ Creative Thinking to Future-Proof Your Business
Sparking a Creative Mindset
Creativity is now considered one of the most important qualities in business leadership and a critical ingredient in high performing teams. In fact, research on how creativity impacts business results shows that companies that actively foster creative thinking outperform their competition in revenue growth, market share, and employee retention. A well-known IBM study also revealed that CEOs believe that creativity is the most important leadership quality for success in business.
You may be asking yourself: How exactly does creativity play a role in revenue generation and organizational growth?
Creative thinking leads teams to be more communicative and collaborative. Used as a collaboration tool, creativity leads to the exploration of a broader set of ideas to arrive at the best solution to overcome a challenge or vet opportunities for innovation. And collaborating through a set of creative tools allows everyone to share ideas in ways that level the playing field and allow all ideas to make it to the table. This generates trust and psychological safety among teams.
Functional fixedness — or the cognitive bias that negatively affects a person’s ability to problem solve and innovate by seeing things only one way — is the very definition of stagnation, often leading to failure for companies today. Creativity expands perspectives and offers new ways of thinking when approaching challenges and opportunities. This creates the opposite effect of functional fixedness — leading to organizational innovation and success.
The Power of Play
Many more traditional-minded business leaders still view creativity as elusive and difficult to assess in terms of ROI. However, in today’s competitive marketplace, generating more ideas — and specifically more ideas representing a diversity of background and experiences — often means the difference between being seen as an industry leader and a market share loser.
How do companies unleash creative thinking in their teams?
1. Encourage greater collaboration and diversity of perspectives. Agile and adept leaders are skilled at giving everyone at the table a voice and encouraging team members to work together and value each other’s ideas, opinions, and input.
2. Understand the value of both convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking refers to the preference for finding one objective solution to a problem. Meanwhile, divergent thinking adopts a more open-minded approach that involves an emphasis on creativity. Both have benefits in business depending on the situation and the goal, but beginning with divergent thinking as a whole leads to more overall innovation and adaptability.
3. Don’t fear failure. To be truly creative, we must accept that not every idea is going to be successful, yet every idea has the potential to lead to the next success. Adopting this mindset allows for unique and never-before-conceived solutions to come to light, no matter how wild and crazy.
4. Embrace bilateral thinking. By encouraging the left (analytical, operational, goal-driven) and the right (creative, visionary, relationship-driven) hemispheres of the brain to operate in partnership, we use bilateral or “whole-brain” thinking to tap into enhanced innovation and creative problem-solving.
Allocate resources to implement impactful learning programs. Learning and development leaders at forward-thinking organizations recognize the long-term importance and value of fostering creative thinking and innovation. They do so through programs aimed at maximizing creativity.
Creativity: We All Have It!
How can we dispel the notion that creativity is only useful in certain professions or situations? And that play, which is critical to tapping into the right side of our brains, is only for kids?
As humans, we are all innately creative, at all ages. And when people have the right tools and the proper encouragement, our capacity for creativity expands. As adults in the workplace, those creative tools allow and empower individuals to share their voice and ideas in ways that come naturally — tapping back into our grade school show-and-tell days.
Creative thinking also represents a democratization of ideas, enabling people who don’t always feel comfortable speaking up with another outlet to contribute their solutions. In addition, it opens up idea pipelines throughout the organization. Gone are the days of managers prioritizing projects and assigning people to them; now, leaders recognize that important ideas can come from anywhere.
At worksmart, what we see in our work with industry leaders is that when we are all encouraged to be creative, good ideas can come from any level of an organization – and people are happier when their voices and ideas are heard. And happier people do better work.
Our training and development programs spark and sustain a creative mindset through skills training, interactive exercises, and creative projects. We teach you how to use your imagination as a principal way to problem solve, innovate, and collaborate — a sure-fire way to lead your teams and your organization to greater creative thinking and long-term success.