Sep 082015

What’s Your Roadmap to Creativity?

Fostering an organizational environment that supports and nurtures creativity doesn’t have to be difficult. Some organizational leaders don’t know how to unleash individual talents; others know how to unleash creativity so that the results are useful and cohesive. Unleashing people’s talents and creativity brings about new ideas, products and solutions. When we don’t unleash the “genius” within people it can result in chaos and inhibit problem solving for the good of the organization and its employees.

Companies try many different ways to inspire creativity, but many don’t know how. What’s important is to remove the constraints that prevent people from being creative. If we expect perfection and are not getting out of our comfort zone, or are simply relying on past experiences, then we may never break free of our restraints.

We should not let fear enter the workplace. Fear will make us run, hide and try to remove ourselves from the threat. If we instill fear in the workplace, people will become more concerned about protecting themselves than working on finding the best solutions.

Fear causes paralysis and creates a chilling effect on creativity. Because many of us tend to be restrained, cautious, conservative, and don’t want to look foolish, our creativity becomes frozen. Many times we don’t know how to lift the restraints that fear brings upon us.

Sometimes it’s best to create a little discomfort to get an edge. Some people call it creative-discomfort. Discomfort puts us on edge in a way that makes us want to move, to act, and to want to be creative. Our team will be more effective if they can ask “what if?” or “is this the best way?” A team that wants to be innovative and creative should be able to collaborate, experiment and integrate different scenarios to finding solutions.

We can try different remedies, like thinking outside the box, thinking out loud, brainstorming, storyboarding, and nominal group techniques. Whatever you try, there are some key steps you can take to lead the way to more creativity.

First you have to create trust. Creating a sense of trust will allow your employees to take bigger risks and gives them the room to work creatively.

You also have to start with good communications. Good communication skills are a must. Everyone needs to know what is expected and how it plays into the team’s ultimate goal. Open channels of communication can help foster trust and clarity.

Ongoing reassessment is important as well. Review what’s happening. Do things have to be changed? If so, where, when and to what extent? Reassessing will help us check our progress and our processes. It can give us the flexibility to try new things and continue to improve.

Being creative should give you the freedom to come up with your best ideas on what to do. Come up with the ideas first, then put the structure to it later. Testing your creative ideas is no different than how you treat any other alternative, testing and making changes as you go along. The big difference is how the ideas are generated.

At the end of the day, you’ll discover what works for your team. The results will be a better, more productive team and a better place to work.

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