For any business leader, it is important to remember that creativity isn’t an endless resource. Over time, a team can burnout and the ideas that used to spark so easily can dry up.
Productivity and creativity usually go hand-in-hand, which means a drop in one element is going to impact the other. This fact also suggests that business leaders that spot this issue need to address it before it causes wider problems in the organisation.
So, how can you get your team thinking creatively again? Here are three possible solutions to consider.
1) Bring in outside speakers to give workshops
It is fair to say that sometimes a business can get a little stale. If it has been the same set of employees on a similar customer base for a number of months, there is little reason for them to think outside the box – especially if there aren’t any major issues.
However, in this situation, there is every reason to be creative.This is where outside speakers can be of value.
Depending on your industry, bringing in outside speakers who can talk at length about hot topics or growth areas can plant seeds in the minds of your team. Listening to a new perspective can resonate for longer and give employees the tools to respond to outside ideas and improve their creativity.
2) Time to work on their own idea/project
Suggesting to a business leader that they should give employees time to work on their own projects would usually return a laugh. But could this approach assist creativity?
While it is their job, working a 40 hour week on similar projects can drain creativity and even prevent employees developing their own ideas.
It is worth noting that this is exactly what Google, one of the most successful businesses in the world, is doing through its 20 per cent initiative. One day a week, Google allows all employees to stop working on normal projects and work on their own initiatives.
In a 2004 Founders’ IPO Letter, Google outlined what they wanted to achieve through this incentive.
“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20 per cent of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative,” the letter read.
“Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner. For example, AdSense for content and Google News were both prototyped in “20 per cent time.” Most risky projects fizzle, often teaching us something. Others succeed and become attractive businesses.”
A number of other leading businesses have adopted this approach, highlighting the value of releasing the pressure valve and allowing creativity to flow.
3) Allow workers to play
While your employees might be a few years out of school, this doesn’t mean they have lost their desire to play. In fact, having the ability to play in the workplace might be a great way to encourage flexibility.
Again, companies such as Google, Facebook and LEGO are all taking a lead on this approach and have installed slides, pool tables and table tennis tables into the fabric of the office. Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can be a real drag on creativity so why not get the blood flowing and get your employees talking to each other in a fun environment?
A 2010 study from the University of Western Ontario published in the Psychological Science suggested that fun can be the catalyst for a more creative workplace.
“Generally, [a] positive mood has been found to enhance creative problem-solving and flexible yet careful thinking,” researcher Ruby Nadler explained.
Creativity is an essential part of a successful business, what approach will you take?