July 25, 2021
Performance Management 14 August 2019
Fostering Innovation and Creativity at Work: A Comprehensive Guide for Managers
Guest Poster

All business managers want their companies to grow, and increase in profitability; they need resources available to them and want the best out of their employees and peers. However, many business leaders and cultures overlook what your employees have to offer and essentially limit the company’s potential as well as risk losing great talent to market contenders.

By stifling your team productivity, you run the risk of having problems such as manager retention issues and unhappy workplace culture. Mitigate these issues before they get out of control! Read our insights below to find out how you can foster creativity and innovation among your workforce.

How to Transition into Being a Creative Company

To make room for creative thinking in your company, you should tell your workers that you actually expect them to be creative as part of their job. Allow them time each day to work on their ideas individually or as a team, and give a little bit of freedom to them in order to take risks as ideas need room to breathe and any benefits from that will outweigh the costs. When employees generate ideas that help them or others perform their job better or more quickly, they should be recognized for it. A great way to connect colleagues, show appreciation, and keep everyone updated with the company’s goals and progress is to hold an open meeting every Friday before the weekend break. Focus on improvements, targets achieved and other positive topics. 

Big ideas and small ideas alike should be valued and appreciated, ideas that don’t work out the first time can be improved upon by other colleagues in the future which could really make an impact on the market.

Using Creativity as a Resource

Creativity is an important asset that you may have been missing out on. Creativity helps generate ideas that will set you apart from your rivals and will allow you to generate lots of ideas when problem-solving. It would be foolish to not utilize these free resources which you already have on-hand. The ingenuity and the originality of these ideas will help you spot and seize opportunities and avoid potential hazards.Creativity is easy to encourage and does not require much from the employer, most people are keen to share ideas and get involved more with work if they feel that they can really be a part of something and if some of those ideas can be used and will be valued. 

Many employees may be holding back ideas and effort as they feel it is not required of them or that there is no space for creativity within existing paradigms, but simply lifting the restrictions on creativity will give rise to a multitude of useful ideas.

Right Now You Are Missing Opportunities

Going by what a progressive master in service design says, 

The service industry is a booming economy which is still growing and will require expert designers to take advantage of new ideas, technology, and ways of working whereby making creativity the new currency. 

Not using all of your resources, including the additional ideas and skills that your employees have to offer means that you are really missing out on a lot of opportunities. If you punish 'failures' that were well-intentioned then people will just close themselves off and give the minimum of what they can offer. 

This isn't just in regards to creativity, but also their daily tasks, their willingness to assist their colleagues, and whether they would take the time to raise awareness about potential issues or even unsafe practices. 

By investing in creativity you will create a positive environment that also feels safe. This will negate the previous issues and will avoid creating an environment where productivity is low and where people would be at risk from harm.  

Create Time for Creativity

Encouraging your workers to be creative is one thing, but without the proper time allotted in order to relax, prepare and get into the zone of creativity, ideas will not blossom. It’s important that people know in advance when they can work on creative projects, spontaneous intervals suddenly arising will not be helpful, there will be pressure to get quick results in a situation where there has not been time to organize materials or resources.

Scheduling creativity will have the benefit of focusing your employees’ attention on their projects and overall time management. They will be prepared and will have an idea of what they want to achieve, therefore not wasting the creative time only thinking about the task ahead. You will see greater results this way, and employees will feel more fulfilled seeing their development. 

Give the Process Space to Breathe

Breaking tradition and allowing creativity doesn’t come without its risks, for example, think of new ideas coming into existence in the same way that new business do; many of them will not have enough recognition in the beginning phase as they struggle to develop and find their feet. 

With time, however, solid concepts and designs will materialize, so don’t be too unfavorable or hasty when dismissing unfamiliar models and notions, these could very well end up being the future hits that carry your brand forward. 

One reason why risk-taking is becoming rare is that promotions and career paths often rely on a portfolio of consistent success. People and companies alike would rather play it safe, therefore not allowing the circumstances for a successful creative environment to grow. Companies that work in such a way often become much less competitive and will adapt slowly to innovation within their sector.  

The Positive Effects of Expectations, Time, and Engagement

By fostering a culture of creativity, you will create an employee experience which is very interesting and that keeps employees engaged and productive, therefore increasing the output of creativity, they will also be much less likely to look for work elsewhere. 

Studies have shown that by creating expectations for employees as well as providing the necessary time to be creative, employees will take a bolder approach when addressing serious tasks and therefore are more innovative and proactive. 

Each of the three unique elements works as a catalyst for creativity but combined, this trinity has enormous power which will create the optimal creative climate.  

By creating this environment, you will see the majority of your employees jumping into creative action without needing a push or any extra effort from yourself. 

Maximizing Potential Through Creative Culture

Although having the right elements in place will foster a creative environment, if you want to be more competitive and aggressive in order to gain market share then you and your managers will have to actively encourage creativity. This way you can make sure that you are engaging everybody in the process and that you will get the best ideas possible.Gaining market share will require courage, brains, and innovation. To achieve this, you must truly capitalize on your ideas; you must organize processes and systems for supporting employees through all the different stages of development. Not following through with this will actually inhibit the growth of your company, the people that work for you, and the amount of profit that you can earn. 

Your company has many resources that you can use will little effort in order to achieve growth. Make the most of this opportunity by accessing your employees’ full potential, at the same time capturing their attention by utilizing their imagination which is very valuable and often overlooked. 

Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a senior business strategist, holding an MA degree in business communication. She is always doing her best to help her clients find their place in the ever so competitive business arena. You can check her out on LinkedIn and Twitter.