ENCOURAGE THE FOUR C'S OF CREATIVITY
How many times have you said, “Why didn’t I think of that?” We’re often surprised by, or envious of, great business ideas we see in person or read about online. We admire those with seemingly innate abilities to create something from nothing but sometimes discount our own potential for creativity. Or we simply wait for breakthrough ideas to emerge spontaneously as the result of “eureka” moments.
While new ideas can turn up “out of the blue,” successful companies make a point of actively and consistently fostering cre-ativity. To encourage the creative process at your workplace, keep in mind the four C’s of creativity — Culture, Conditions, Context, and Collaboration.
Culture – Establish a business envi-ronment where creativity is solicited, rewarded, and celebrated. Let your employees know that creativity is valued. Ask for new ideas and creative solutions to problems. Reward employees when they come up with ways (big or small) to increase efficiency, improve service, or reduce costs.
Conditions – Give your employees the resources they need to be creative. This can be as simple as allotting time during the business day for discussions, research, and brainstorming.
Context – Provide a clear target or specific goal. “Go be creative” is too vague to produce meaningful results. Instead, ask your employees to develop solutions for specific challenges. Give enough direction to point the way but resist being too directive, since that could actually inhibit creativity. Even “crazy” ideas frequently contain a bit of brilliance in them that can lead to practical applications.
Collaboration – Diverse groups tend to generate the most creative ideas since a range of expertise and viewpoints stimulates the kind of discussion that leads to innovation. To take advantage of this dynamic, establish teams comprised of people from different departments. You may also want to involve customers, vendors, and key stakeholders in the creative process.