Supporting creative mindsNov 14, 2017
Are you in an organisation, where creativity is a way of life, where invention and innovation is embraced and the people within it are empowered to be creative and duly rewarded and recognised for their efforts? Or are you in an organisation where creativity is not encouraged and any suggested improvement gets put in the "too difficult" box or "can't be done, as that's the way we always do it" box?
What if it were simple to generate the appropriate creative space to enable your teams to innovate, invent and inspire each other and take the organisation along with themselves to the next level?
You can accomplish this by applying the acronym CREATE™, which stands for:
C - Culture of trust and collaboration
R - Reward and recognition for creativity is built into the performance monitoring process
E - Environment that provides the appropriate resources, tools and workspaces
A - Actions taken are congruent with the organisation's values and culture
T - Time for creative thinking
E - Energy in the workplace managed to excite, inspire and motivate everyone
Let's explore these areas in more detail.
C is for Culture of trust and collaboration
Does your organisation foster a culture of trust and collaboration where people are free to express themselves? Is your team free to disagree with the way things are currently done? Can each individual propose alternate suggestions without the fear of being ridiculed or ostracised?
I used to work for a firm that said it put trust at the heart of it's culture. New to the firm I went to a meeting where I was told that it was a forum for open discussion, where we were free to express our opinion, suggest new ideas - that whatever was discussed in the room stays in the room. "Trust me," said the Director. The very next day I was called by a member of the senior leadership team berating me for openly expressing my opinion in that meeting - a meeting that they had never even been to. From that point forward I completely lost all trust in the leadership team and the firm as a whole and became reluctant to express any innovative ideas that would have benefited them.
If you want to encourage and nurture innovation and invention, create an organisational culture that encourages and supports individual expression.
R is for Reward and Recognition
Does your organisation have the appropriate frameworks in place to reward creative minds? How are people rewarded and recognised for innovation or invention? Is there a financial framework set up to reimburse inventor and innovators, recognising their skills and promoting further creativity?
When studying my PhD I was in the process of writing my thesis and running out of money to complete it. The offer from the company that sponsored me at the time was for a small sum of money to help me finish my thesis in return for me handing over all my intellectual property, which I owned, to the company for the sum of £1. I was broke and felt I had no alternative. The company was backed by Venture Capitalists and grew off the back of my research and others and unfortunately I received no compensation. It was a tough pill to swallow and I drifted away from the field as a result of the bitterness I felt after consulting with lawyers on the matter.
To promote creativity, creatives should be promoted, recognised and and rewarded for their achievements.
E is for an Environment with the appropriate resources, tools and workspaces
Are you in an environment where the appropriate resources, tools and workspaces are available to enable teams to be creative? Where people can develop new products, techniques and tools and even find new ways of working, or develop new systems?
I consulted for an organisation that had a wonderful core project delivery system and frameworks in place. With the appropriate delivery frameworks, resources and management systems, we were able to be creative in our approach to solving pretty much anything that we were tasked to. One Research and Development (R&D) project that I was asked to lead gave me free reign to build the team and find the solution to a critical R&D problem in manufacturing. Building a team of up to 70 collaborators across the business, we collaboratively resolved a quality control problem in less than six months, which had never previously been fully understood.
If you create the right environment in your organisation, creativity will flourish and innovation will naturally occur.
A is for Action congruent to the organisation's culture and values
Are the actions of your leaders and collaborators congruent with the organisation's culture and values, or is "lip service" being applied, with an oppressive cultural undertone of "do as I say, not as I do"?
I worked for a company that was incredibly focused on wellbeing, yet one day received an email from someone within senior management that seemed to gloat at the fact that other members of senior management had to give up their holiday for a required strategic planning offsite. From that point forward I questioned the ethics of the company and whether I could really work in a place that didn't uphold its core values.
It's vital for any organisation to role model what it expects in order to build a culture of trust, openness and freedom of expression to allow creativity to flourish.
T is for Time allocated for creative thinking
Is your organisation creating sufficient time in the week to allow people the needed creative headspace? Are your teams encouraged to dream, strategically think and consider alternate approaches to existing projects or tasks? Or is everyone too busy to even grab a fun lunch, let alone grab that vital free creative thinking time?
It's been proven that by allowing time for creative thinking, ideas can catapult your organisation into a realm where no one else is operating. Given the pace that technology is now moving, creating this time for people to strategically think and innovate is more important than ever.
E is for Energy in the workplace managed to excite, inspire and motivate everyone
Do you feel excited to go to work? Is your workplace a fun place to be, where everyone is supportive, motivated and inspired by everyone else? Or are you counting down the hours before you can go home and recharge before the daily grind starts again?
A fun environment, full of energy and excitement in what everyone is doing, will inspire and motivate others to be creative. This is fabulously evident in a small innovative organisation I am working for, where everything, despite being a challenge, is fun.
Be a workplace that everyone wants to go to, not the one they can't wait to leave.
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