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Managing Change: Innovative Ways To Boost Your Company's Creativity
Wed 24th August 2011
If your colleagues come up with ideas during their coffee break, at lunch time or whilst in the toilet, the last thing you want is for those pangs of genius to be lost when they return to their desks. You also need to build up a strong element of trust or they will not keep those creative juices flowing... so encourage them to come forth with their bright ideas, or there is a strong chance that they may keep them to themselves or even use them to start their own company!
The best way to promote creativity is to encourage staff to work at it every day. Think about a writer, he would never finish a novel if he did not sit in front of the computer every day. This means that your company will remain stagnant if you do not continue to inject it with fresh bursts of those "ah ha" moments.
One and all: Get those creative cogs turning by asking each member of staff to write down one idea which could improve an aspect of their job. The next day, they should work on this suggestion to see if it really has had a positive impact. At the end of the day, staff could meet up to discuss if there were any improvements and if the idea made a positive difference in comparison to the previous working day.
The lottery: Why not set up an ideas lottery? Every time someone has a puff of genius, you could award them a lottery ticket. At the end of the week, a draw could take place. If the number drawn matches anyone who has that lottery ticket, they receive a monetary prize...the more ideas they come up with, the more chances they have of winning.
The brainstorm: Use a large whiteboard and place it in a position where everyone can see it. In the middle write a theme or problem that needs to be addressed and invite staff to write their ideas on the board or scribble them on paper and post them in an ideas box.
Filling in the blanks: For all those grim reapers in the office who always follow an idea with a "yes but..." encourage them to change that mind set with a "yes and..." so as you can build on an initial idea. This can then be passed around the office with each staff member extending on the last suggestion with a "yes and..."
The left brain vs the right brain: Encourage staff to put their heads together by dividing a brainstorming session in two with the intuitive thinkers (those who use their right brain) on the right and the rational thinkers (those who use their left brain) on the left. When these two sides of the brain become one, the logical and practical merge with the unconventional and wacky to create unique ideas which no-one may have thought of as an individual.
Walk the hall of fame: Recognise those who have made great idea contributions by displaying their photo. You could also add a short paragraph or two explaining how the idea has had a positive impact on the company.
Icons: Why not ask employees to bring in photographs which emulate things that they love. Using a creative mind, staff could comment on how these items could relate to a business idea. For example, someone who has a love of Heinz tomato ketchup could be asked to come up with 57 ideas on how to create more sales. Someone who has fallen in love with their Rolex, could provide an idea for every hour in a day, For example, 24 hours = 24 ideas. A watch signifies time, so 24 ideas connected to time management could evoke some great suggestions. This is a great way to kick start the imagination and set some challenges along the way.
Turn bad ideas into good ones: Have a funny, trivial or wacky ideas week where people are allowed to let their imagination run wild and come up with the most useless and pointless ideas ever. Not only will this be fun and stimulate great conversation, it will also open up the floodgates to possibilities as each team member has to try and turn that useless idea into something worthwhile. Chances are they will generate at least one good idea from all of the pointless ones.
The creativity suite: Set aside a part of the office as a creative centre. Stock it with books, videos and games connected to creativity. Use this suite as a means of sharing knowledge and building upon it. Maybe you could allocate a chapter or random page of a book to each member of staff who then has to take something learned from those pages and inculcate it into a workable idea.
Different perspective: Why not ask staff from different departments to join in your brainstorming sessions. They may be able to look at things outside the box and offer fresh input. Likewise, your department could do the same for staff working in other areas.
By making creativity fun, challenging and rewarding, you will be spoilt for choice with ideas coming at you from all directions. Instil a sense of play into your company's working day and help to ignite the passion. Innovation encourages growth and opens the door to opportunities in new markets. It can also breathe fresh air into a mature business.
Executives should openly encourage creativity amongst all of their employees and should not just rely on those who are naturally creative to come up with the answers. Each and every one of us is born with a creative brain but as we mature we are discouraged to use the power of our imagination. This results in the left side of the brain taking centre stage as logical thinking is encouraged throughout the school years and in the workplace. Hence, the reason why employees need to re-nurture this innate ability that we all possess.
In today's fast paced and competitive environment, creativity is paramount for the continued survival and success of a business. This is why it should become a corporate priority. Place emphasis on right brain function which will help to reveal the bigger picture, encourage artistic thinking and help put ideas into context. By finding new ideas to problems and creating new products, services or processes, you will keep your company constantly in synch with a forever changing market.
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