How to Encourage Creativity in the Workplace

Submitted by: Lorna Love

The terms creativity and innovation are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are actually two very separate processes that require different skill sets and environments in order to thrive. Creativity is the ability to see something being done a certain way and attempt to do it more effectively or enjoyably. Innovation is the process of taking these creative ideas and evaluating them in terms of the needs and capabilities of a business, then finding ways to implement them in a way that improves the business’ productivity and profitability. Both are needed to generate successful growth.

Are you looking for ways to encourage more creativity in the workplace? Try these four tips:

Incentives

An open door policy with those in upper management doesn’t necessarily encourage lower level workers to share their new ideas. Organizations should provide incentives for submitting new ideas. Providing a monthly award that promotes company-wide recognition or profit-sharing programs made available for successful ideas give employees tangible motivation to bring their creative ideas forward. 

Provide innovative tools

Online meeting tools like iMeet® and GlobalMeet® allow employees to get more creative with their meetings. With HD video and crystal-clear audio, individuals can collaborate face-to-face with others from all over the world. By adding background images and profile pictures, workers can create their own unique meeting rooms that match their personalities. 

Systemic implementation

Try to give employees a dedicated time during the week where they can pursue an idea. By giving employees some quiet time, you are allowing them to flush out their ideas and potentially turn them into reality. Unless a company makes creative ideation an ingrained part of daily operations, new ideas will always get shoved to the back burner.

Follow-through

Follow-through may be one of the most important parts of seeing a creative idea through to a game-changing new product. This is also where innovation comes in. A system must be in place for an idea to be thoroughly evaluated to determine if it is both practical and desirable. Detail and goal-oriented people, or innovators, need to be brought in to provide suggestions for execution and assessment.

Although not every good idea will make it through this process, it’s important to follow through with communicating why the idea won’t be implemented to the employee or group that suggested it. Nothing kills creative energy faster than ideas being shot down without an explanation.

Providing incentives, innovative tools and setting processes can help encourage creative innovation. But, it’s important to remember, it takes dedication and commitment. Many companies find that making changes to a business can feel risky. However, in a fast-paced economy, the greatest risk an organization can take is not keeping pace with new developments in their industry.

Photo Courtesy: Sebastiaan ter Burg