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How to Encourage Creativity in the Workplace

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play”

-John Cleese

Creative marketing has many benefits and is a crucial part of any marketing strategy.

Often the creative process seems unclear, without structure, goals, deliverables or measures. The temptation to reduce risk deters many from encouraging a creative process in the workplace. So while many companies desire a creative workforce, they often don’t know how to encourage creativity. So, how do you encourage your marketing team or whole organisation to be more creative?

1. Encourage creative thinking

One of the most important things is that you make it clear the business encourages creativity in every employee. When you convince them creativity is highly valued people will be more comfortable about taking risks and putting new ideas forward.

You must allow employees to:

  1. Be curious and question assumptions
  2. Take risks
  3. Make mistakes
  4. Take time to search for inspiration and explore ideas

Google champions creativity in the workplace, they allow their developers to spend 20% of their working hours on personal creative projects. Giving people downtime during the workday is an important part of driving a creative atmosphere.

2. Hold creative meetings

Creative meetings are brilliant for discussing ideas and solutions to problems. It’s crucial that all rejection is removed from the meetings and positivity is enforced. Invite employees from a range of positions and different disciplines to get the most out of the meeting. When the technical minded and creative minded are combined the best ideas can be born! Try to avoid sitting around a boardroom table and instead get people moving or even walking outdoors.

3. Listen and stay open

Nothing restricts creativity more than judgment – managers must recognise input from everyone in the business. Building a creative culture takes time and requires management to be open-minded to the suggestions put forward.

One reason employees may be afraid to put forward ideas is because they’re different from how things are usually done. There’s nothing worse than hearing “we’ve always done it this way” or “we tried that before and it didn’t work” when you put a new idea forward. Avoid uttering this line at any cost.

4. Freedom to fail

Employees should be praised for creative thinking even when their ideas seem off the wall. Give your team the chance to pursue their ideas, they may not go anywhere or they could very well end up being exceptional ideas when refined.  

Many people can be afraid of the consequences of making mistakes or failing, but risk taking has to be encouraged if creativity is to flourish in the workplace. There’s no better way to improve than learning from your mistakes. Businesses that punish failure are unlikely to see new ideas from employees.

5. Avoid the “safe zone”

Safety can allow people to open up but with too much stability nothing creative will emerge. It’s a fine line between gently guiding employees into new territory and completely throwing them into chaos. Find the right balance between stability and chaos and you’re in the creative zone! Feeling discomfort is a key part of the creative process.

The creative process involves re-assessing assumed limitations, embracing risk, experimenting and most of all being open-minded. Business owners can be reluctant to encourage creativity because it takes time and often challenges the status quo. But if implemented well it can be incredibly beneficial to your business.