If you were asked to picture a ‘creative’ business person, what image would come to mind?
Perhaps it would be a marketing professional, working in a pristine open plan office, conjuring up their next campaign from the comfort of an oversized beanbag.
Or maybe it would be an architect; labouring over a set of plans in a black turtleneck.
Or even a hoody-wearing, twentysomething game designer, trying to code the next Candy Crush (that was an online game that took the world by storm a few years ago, for those not in-the-know).
The problem with these stereotypes is that they obscure the everyday creativity of people across a multitude of industries and in many different roles.
Each day, people in teams just like yours are devising new approaches to tackle common challenges in the workplace. It might be finding more efficient ways to use resources, to improve communication with clients or to identify the next big opportunity.
Consider even the basic act of picking up the phone and calling a client. Unless you’re reading off a pre-prepared script, you are probably putting together words and using inflections in your voice that have never been used in that exact combination before – a genuinely creative act.
As communications professionals, we have to be creative every day to deliver the best outcomes for our clients. Below are some strategies that work for our team in fostering everyday creativity.
When was the last time you truly celebrated your success? More often than not we let our achievements go by unnoticed, even when the approach we used to get the ‘win’ required an enormous amount of creativity. Most professionals are creative in their work every day – it could be a new reporting method, a different approach to a plan, or explaining a complex technical detail in a more palatable way for a general audience. All of these tasks require creativity, however, so much is overlooked or ignored.
Next time you find yourself thinking outside the box, tell someone about it. If you notice a colleague has found a creative solution to a problem, congratulate them. Sharing success makes everyone feel more valued for their contribution and highlights the creativity behind the positive outcome you achieved.
More diversity, more creativity
While it’s easy to get settled in a role and ‘stay in your lane’, research has shown that diverse and inclusive teams make better decisions and are more creative. Teams with the same experiences and expertise are prone to ‘copy’ errors. This ‘group think’ environment where everyone tends to agree with a certain way of doing things can stifle creativity and lead to poor decision-making. Projects suffer because there are no fresh ideas being brought to the table!
Don’t be afraid to offer a different perspective to a problem, even if it may not be completely within your expertise. Use your experiences and welcome the different views of those around you. You might find tossing around a few ideas helps find new, more creative solutions to your challenges. By fostering an inclusive decision-making process within a diverse team, you’ll be able to expand your own creativity, and that of the colleagues around you.
Take a walk
Sometimes a simple change of environment can make all the difference. Research has shown that walking helps to clear your mind and can boost your creativity. If you’re having trouble coming up with a creative solution to a problem, a simple walk around the block could give you the fresh thinking you require to cut through the noise.
Everyday creativity can be difficult to quantify, but it is a key ingredient in a successful business. By taking a few simple steps to foster creativity every day, you’ll be finding better solutions to the most complex business challenges in no time.