How to cultivate creativity in work teams?
Creativity is a pillar, if not the most important pillar for innovation. It is no news that having more creative teams has positive consequences in the work environment and for the achievement of objectives.
Knowing all this, seeing the world in constant transformation, is when we look for creativity wherever we can… and the news is that it is invariably already present in every company, regardless of the sector. It’s in your company’s talent and in your teams.
If you rolled your eyes and don’t believe me, I understand. You probably look around you and think – My industry has nothing to do with creativity. Or – No way! None of the team is creative.
And there are so many stereotypes of creativity and “creative personality” that simply limit thinking that your team, in your industry, doing certain activities, is far from having the potential to create.
The reality is that creativity is not something that some people have and others do not. We all are and in our contexts and scenarios, all and absolutely all, have expressed our creativity in some way.
This means that you have creative energy, and your team does too, therefore, the company has creative potential. Even if at the moment it does not have the right channels.
To cultivate creativity in work teams, the first step before giving you some keys is to know that it is not about “converting” people into creative people. Nor is it to start looking for new, more creative profiles. But continuing with the same scenarios and systems that are not very creative in the company.
Cultivating creativity means accepting and giving the space for people to explore their creative ways, to feel welcome to have and express their ideas and points of view. It’s not about changing people, it’s about encouraging and giving space for people to be creative.
How to cultivate creativity in work teams? 5 keys.
First of all. Open spaces for creativity in the company.
To cultivate creativity in teams and in a business environment, the first thing is to generate an atmosphere that is receptive to new ideas, experimentation and collaborative decision-making.
It’s not about building a physical space (if you do that, great) it’s about generating an environment where people feel comfortable expressing new ideas. For this, creating spaces free of judgment, supportive channels and freedom to communicate and not just listen, are vital to start this construction towards personal and collaborative creativity.
If a person feels good and is encouraged to share ideas and new perspectives or ways of seeing things, it is a chain reaction. Because a person who discovers his or her creativity is contagious.
Empathy from the inside out.
We know that the basis for continuous and sustainable innovation is people-centered innovation. We think directly about the consumer or our customers, but this also includes everyone involved in the value chain.
An important part of creating open spaces for creativity is directly linked to the company’s values and culture of kindness. When we embrace the diversity of thought and ways of life, when we stop categorizing people to fit them into stereotypes or place labels on them, these elements allow each person to be and when people are, creativity is part of each of us.
Inclusion and diversity are vital elements to generating a culture of creativity and innovation. Let’s think of innovation as an empathic process, which not only includes “putting ourselves in the shoes” of the consumer. To develop it in a genuine way, it must be connected to the reality of the company and its purpose in order to transmit it to its products, services and experiences. Empathy goes from the inside out, this is what makes innovation have depth, form and congruence.
Leaders with a new vocabulary for possibilities: Dropping the “can’t do” for “How do we do it?”
I know that stress leads us to think that we must be very practical in our decision-making. Being objective, punctual, and effective… all good, but be careful that by editing meetings or decision-making to the maximum, be careful that we are not loading the possibilities.
If in a meeting we do not allow questioning, and spaces for communicating new ideas, we are nipping in the bud the creative possibility of our work team.
If a team member has an idea, take away the No and try it out. As leaders, even if it takes you more time, open the space for the proposal, the communication of new ideas and the time… yes the time (there is never enough of it, but believe me it is worth it).
Cultivating Creative Confidence
Creative confidence, in my opinion, is the nerve center of possibilities. For both innovation and entrepreneurship, trust is the fuel that drives us to get involved, to dare to take on the new and to carry it forward. Humility to listen and openness to propose, generate an environment of trust.
Possibly opening spaces to cultivate creative trust requires follow-ups and spaces to process ideas.
Let’s think that good ideas are an excellent start, but every new venture needs assimilation and processing. If an idea is proposed or if we generate spaces for the creation of ideas in a collaborative way, let’s make sure to follow it up, encouraging experimentation, exploration and dedication to its development and maturation. Walking the path of the new, step by step and with accompaniment continually revitalizes individual and team confidence.
Learning to ask questions. Dare to question our ways and the assumptions of the industry.
If I can point out one of the great challenges that exist linking creativity with the business transformation we have been experiencing lately, it is this: the imperative need for us as professionals to learn to ask questions.
We live in systems where there are a lot of assumptions, which we take for granted. Holding on to what is already in place and the way things make us very resistant to change.
Let’s question the assumptions of the industry, the assumptions of our ways of working, let’s give space to leave the “It’s always been done this way” and look for the questioning towards “And yes…”.
We see how current events show us that in the face of new questions and the challenge of the status quo, many technological developments and ways of working that we thought were impossible are now beginning to change us forever.
Questioning opens up possibilities,
possibilities produce ideas,
well worked ideas produce innovation,
innovation as a way of thinking,
becomes part of our business structure.
Creativity in work teams requires space, space to think, communicate, propose, experiment, and question. Cultivating creativity in work teams involves a culture of values in favor of the expression and acceptance of each of the members that compose it.
Creativity is an innate quality within everyone, but in some more or less, it is hidden within stereotypes and false beliefs. The good news is that every talent is creative, and if we give it the space it is perfectly possible for all teams to have creativity as part of their way of working and people as part of their lives.
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