23 Nov 2011

How creative is your business?

How important is creativity to business success?

Creativity has an enormous role to play in almost every aspect of what we do as a business – from research and product development through to customer service and after-sales care.

But while most would agree that creativity is vital and has many benefits, fostering, summoning and, above all, directing creativity can be difficult.

Here are some suggestions to consider when thinking about how to do encourage creativity within your business:

Celebrating ideas

Creativity is difficult to force, but a regular ‘melting pot’ forum in which people are encouraged to thrash out new ideas will play a valuable role in establishing a creativity culture. This can also be a great way to to encourage ’employee involvement’ within the business – empowering ideas and encouraging your staff to value the future of your (and their) organisation.

A regular forum means that staff will actively jot down the ideas that occur to them as they work, rather than let them fall to the wayside. These can easily be promoted and shared, or for those who do not like the limelight any idea can, and should, remain anonymous if requested.

Creativity from the ground up

A creative business encourages ideas and innovation at every level. Often, it’s those on the front lines who can deliver the best information about customer needs and pain-points and ways to solve them. Allow your employees, who you have invested a great deal of time and money in, the freedom to express their ideas and thoughts. Quite often, the best ideas are already starring you right in the face. By providing a channel or forum for these ideas to be shared, no ideas should be left to fall by the wayside.

Set expectations

Of course, not every good idea can be acted upon, so make sure that staff understand that even some great ideas won’t be executed. But never discourage or stifle creativity.

Not every great idea will work in practice either. A culture in which ideas that fall short are viewed as learning experiences, rather than failures, will encourage the ideas that succeed.

So go out there and spark creativity. Go and look ‘outside the box’ (but also remember to look inside it too, because if everyone is looking outside…)! Remember, there’s no such thing as a bad idea!

What do you think? What’s been your experience of business creativity?