To some people, creativity and the corporate world may seem mutually exclusive. Many believe that a corporate environment is gray and serious, whilst a creative environment is colorful and fun. Yet, creativity and innovation are important across all industries. For companies to really thrive the two must coexist, as business challenges require inventive solutions.
As a result, creative thinking is one of the most demanded skills nowadays as businesses encounter ever changing environments. In 2019, a LinkedIn analysis ranked “creativity” as the most in-demand soft skill – above management discipline, integrity, and even vision.
Even with developing technology and artificial intelligence, businesses need creative people, as technology can only be as good as the people who instigate and operate it.
Read on to explore more reasons why creativity is such a valuable asset in business, and discover how you can learn to add some more ingenuity into your professional life.
What is creativity?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, creativity is defined as “the ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative”. However, creativity can mean many different things, to many different people, in many different contexts. To have such a simple definition would not be in keeping with the spirit of creativity itself. Essentially, if you are experimenting, building, brainstorming or innovating, you are most likely also exercising your creativity.
Why is creativity important in business?
Creativity is important for so many reasons in the corporate world, some of which are often overlooked. We shortlisted the top reasons why creativity is essential for a thriving business below.
Usually, people equate innovation with creativity. But they are not one and the same. Creativity is about coming up with original ideas. Innovation is about executing those ideas, by walking the walk, not just talking the talk. However, without creativity, innovation could never occur, and therefore creativity is essential to have a forward thinking, novel or ground breaking organization.
Creativity also allows for adaptability, and therefore helps to manage unpredictable events when they occur. By exercising creative thinking it is easier to determine alternate options and react quicker to changing circumstances, which is ever more important in today’s fast paced world.
When problems must be solved within an organization, creativity is also key. Creativity can help to identify solutions which otherwise would not have been considered, or to explore different ways of approaching a crisis which have not previously been identified.
Creativity nurtures company culture too. Creative workplaces have been found to be both happier and healthier than their not so creative counterparts. With a positive culture and happy employees being so important to the success of a business it is no wonder that creativity is being prioritized more and more.
Collaboration also increases as creativity increases. Creative collaboration is all about bringing people together, viewing a challenge from different perspectives and then combining that knowledge and insight to, together, create a solution.
Given all of the above benefits, it is therefore understandable why productivity also increases. A happy, collaborative and innovative workforce is undoubtedly going to be more effective and efficient than others.
Companies use creative approaches to add value to their business and gain an advantage over their competitors. All of the above noted benefits add up to create a large advantage.
How can creativity be encouraged in organizations?
Like any other skill, creativity must be consistently practiced if you are to see any improvement. To ensure that creative thinking dos became a habit, try out the following activities:
Take a walk – a short and simple lunchtime walk has been found to help to clear your mind, destress and therefore make room for more creative thoughts in the future.
Open a book – ingesting other ideas, concepts and principles by reading can enhance your own view of the world and provide you with more experimentative thoughts and ideas.
Don’t Punish Failure – when employees feel safe, they are more likely to take educated risks and try more creative and diverse solutions not previously explored.
Provide the Resources Necessary to Innovate – without the necessary resources, monetary or other, creativity will be suppressed. Perhaps consider establishing a creativity fund within the organization which can be used specifically for developing creative solutions and ideas.
Don’t Try to Measure Results Too Quickly – there is no quick fix to creativity. It can often take a long time to see measurable changes. Trust in the process and let the success of the business speak for itself.
Maintain an Open Mind – creative solutions can often seem new, daunting and scary, however so long as the risks are educated why not give them a go!
Foster Collaboration – teams work best when they work together. Initiate conversations between partners and juniors, managers and executives. Together creativity thrives.
Encourage Diversity – a diverse workplace is a more creative one. Different experiences, viewpoints and belief systems join together to make a more well rounded and ingenuitive team.
Consider flexible work arrangements – by allowing employees some autonomy over their working hours and places, you will be providing them with more time to recharge.
Host brainstorming sessions – once every week or month, considering hosting a brainstorm session. Colleagues can have a safe space to share ideas and discuss new opportunities. Sometimes life feels too busy to be creative, but by creating a specific time and place for it you can help to foster it.
Hire the Right People – some people are inherently more creative than others, and whilst creativity is most definitely a skill you can develop, if you need a creative boost immediately it may be useful to hire already creative people. Your HR team and a thorough recruitment process can help with this!
With creativity being so important in nearly every workplace, it is becoming more and more of a priority for recruiters. Fostering creative thinking often starts with a combined approach of culture, collaboration and convenience.
Why not let us help you to find and encourage the creativity hiding in your existing workforce – you might just be surprised! Get in touch with us to reconnect with you and your team’s inner creatives today!
This article is written by:
Holly is a Chartered Accountant (CA) from Scotland with a background in external audit and prospects in forensic accounting. She also has experience in editorial and creative writing which she is putting to use during her time in Sweden. Look out for new blog posts, perfect for open and curiously minded individuals.