Being creative at work often requires bravery.
It also involves thinking out of the box, taking risks, moving out of the comfort zone…
It could even mean breaking a few rules.
Now, more than ever before, we live in a creative world – and this has been amplified by the rise of digital technology and the development of new skills and techniques.
Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, service provider, charity, global brand or sole trader, creativity is needed for you to compete and win in your market.
The divide between knowledge work and process work is blurring as we develop our people and their skills to deliver results as a team in demanding environments.
But when the pressure is on that’s the best time to stand back, take a breath and inject a new way of creative thinking.
Here are 5 ideas for adding creativity into your workplace:
There’s nothing better than a hands-on approach to get a really good grasp of your business – the people behind it, the work they do, the challenges they face… what’s working well, and what could be improved. Swapping jobs and roles for a week is a great way for the marketing department to learn more about the manufacturing process, for finance to understand the pressures of the sales team, and for the warehouse operative to experience the demands of the directors’ suite.
Not only does a job swap help to bring people closer together – but by seeing things in a different light, it’s surprising how much help they can actually give to one another.
Creative Brainstorm Session
The best way to unearth a rich vein of new and varying ideas is to involve a group of people in the creative process. Great things come from teamwork, and when the team is fully engaged and energised you can expect the best performance.
A creative brainstorming session is a great way to get the creative juices flowing – and the more you can coax out of your attendees, the more chance you’ll have of achieving the results you’re looking for.
Fellowes, the leading brand for binders, laminators, trimmers and guillotines, have created an easy-to-follow guide for hosting a creative brainstorming session. You can see it here.
There’s no such thing as a bad idea, but staff can sometimes feel embarrassed about making a suggestion in the company of their colleagues – especially as it’s something out of the ordinary. As an alternative to an open brainstorming session, a good way to attract creative thinking in a private environment is to introduce a suggestions box, where staff can post their ideas for consideration. You could even have a different topic each month and arrange a reward for each winner. The best way to make a suggestions box, is to customise an ordinary cardboard box using laminated sheets that feature your company logo and key messages that you wish to communicate. (By applying your laminated title sheets with Velcro fixings you can easily change your messages whenever you need to.)
And, last but not least, don’t forget to cut a slit in the top for suggestions to be posted.
Take a Breath of Fresh Air
There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors for breathing in fresh ideas. Take some time out of the stuffy office and get closer to nature. All you need is a list of challenges, a clear, uncluttered mind and a pen and note book for jotting down your ideas. If you use laminated sheets you can easily wipe off any content that you’d like to amend or improve at a later stage.
Split up into two teams, agree a time to complete the challenges and arrange a meeting point to enjoy a picnic and to share your ideas.
If you’re really looking to cultivate a creative culture in your workplace, think about the workplace itself.
As our roles and specialisms change, so too does the need to adapt our environment and atmosphere for working. The box offices of old are making way for open plan landscapes, where collaboration, interaction and deliberation can be accommodated in perfect harmony. In these new-look interiors we find pods for quick catch-ups, refreshment areas for taking time out to recharge batteries, presentation rooms for conference calls, and carefully planned workstations with sit-stand desks.
Creativity can never be cramped in style. It needs room to breathe and grow, for the benefit and success of your business.
You’ll find some great creative templates for creating, laminating and presenting creativity in the workplace at www.fellowes.com/ideascentre