By Mason Skender | | Apr 01, 2019

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The Business of Creativity – How creativity can boost your results

https://youtu.be/Ah4I-SucF7c

What does creativity have to do with business? Adobe and Forrester Consulting released a study that shows 82% of companies strongly agreed that creative thinking gains business results. Fostering creativity in businesses makes employees and leaders more comfortable with ambiguity and change, leading to improved productivity.

Fostering a creative work culture

Think about where you get your most creative ideas? The most uncommon answer is “at work”, but that can be changed with the right work culture. Bear in mind that everyone is stimulated differently, so businesses need to take the time to understand their team’s creative needs. Red Bull’s High-Performance Group and Vibrant Data studied the world’s most creative minds, from entrepreneurs to musicians to engineers, to see how they could ‘Hack Creativity’ – here’s what they found…

Offer private workspaces. Open offices tend to be the norm these days, however, the majority of people are more creative in a private environment. Contrary to popular belief, private spaces don’t necessarily lead to isolation, in fact, recorded collaboration had a big increase with smaller groups in private spaces.

Give your team some time outdoors. 64% of the study participants said that time spent outdoors stimulated their creativity, accrediting nature as an important part of their creative process.

Set parameters. The cliché of “thinking outside the box” doesn’t always result in the best ideas. More than half of the study said they were more creative when they were forced to work within the bounds of existing rules.

Allow for adaptability. Usually, a business will have a concrete plan or process, but some of the most creative individuals go into a project without crafting a strategy. We’re not saying that zero strategy is best. But a strategy that is flexible enough to deal with obstacles and open enough to adapt to opportunities by chance enables teams to change and reframe their approach.

Above all, here are three of the most important factors

  1. Reinforce the workplace as a safe environment for sharing perspectives
  2. Do not judge with bias – give constructive feedback
  3. Don’t treat failure as a punishable offense

Stimulating creative thinking

In addition to creating the right environment, here are two activities to stimulate people to think creatively. They are called energizers:

And, Yes… Activity

  1. Get everyone to team up in pairs.
  2. One person has been tasked to plan a party and the other is their direct boss.
  3. In the first round, the party planner can say anything to convince the boss, but the boss replies ‘No, because’… and give a reason.
  4. This first round is to illustrate the difference in energy compared to the second, so advise people to think about what they feel during the first round.
  5. In the second round, the party planner starts again, however, this time both have to say ‘Yes, and..’ and continue to plan their grand party.
  6. There are no limitations in round two, money is no constraint, it can get as silly as you want.

Taking ‘no’ out of the scenario ensures everyone’s ideas are heard. Participants should also reflect and compare what they felt to emphasize what it means to be heard, as this also promotes creative thinking.

Visual Phone Activity

  1. Break the large group into groups of three people (one or two groups can have four people)
  2. Place three “sticky notes” (notes) and a pen in front of each person
  3. Ask everyone to write a sentence on a note, then place a blank note on top of it (for now only the sentence author knows it)
  4. Everyone passes the note clockwise
  5. Each person read the sentence from the note in front of  them and then create a representative drawing for the sentence (on the blank note)
  6. Everyone passes the note clockwise.
  7. On a new note, each person write a sentence for the drawing in front of them and place it on top of the previous set (now the set has 3 notes; the original sentence, the drawing, and the new sentence)
  8. Everyone passes the note set clockwise (for the groups of three people, the set should end in front of the original sentence writer)
  9. Open the note set so everyone can see the sentences and respective drawings.

This is a great energizer for showing ambiguity in visual and written communication, context and interpretations. Everyone usually has a laugh as they share their results, but it really pushes the importance of communication which not only promotes but also aids creative thinking.

With everything in mind, make it a goal to cultivate creativity in your business this month and hopefully set up a healthy work culture leading into the year ahead!

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