Machines and artificial intelligence can think, calculate, and act faster than any human. However, we possess one quality that they cannot replicate - creativity. Executives who harness the creative potential of their teams produce results that are disproportionately greater than would otherwise be possible.
Here are five basic concepts that boost creativity in the workplace:
The creative process is still not fully understood. We only know that brain synapses tap into the entirety of an individual's experiences and memories and somehow create something completely new. Those "eureka" moments are characteristic of a mind at ease, free to explore.
Deadlines and schedules are essential but imagination and problem-solving take time. Give your team an environment that is supportive of their creative needs. Instigate it with out-of-the-box experiences like volunteering and charity work.
"Big data" is the buzzword of the times and a commodity that everyone wants to possess. However, keep in mind that intuition is the catalyst that takes you from data to action. It is the use of independent thought to select and extract relevant data, then implement real-world strategies. "We have to be careful that the data doesn't hold us back," says Jamie Myrold, VP of Experience Design at Adobe. "Data is an important tool in our toolbox, but we should also continue to bring that human element into creativity as well."
Encourage your team to take the leap from timid analysis to invigorating intuition-based solutions.
One of the biggest - and most common - obstacles that comes between executives and their goals is thought stagnation. Whether it is with a team or an individual, "expertise" tends to push them into a rut of complacency where new ideas seldom take root.
Foster a spirit of curiosity within your team and transform them from "experts" to "investigators." Some team leaders find this a challenge because it creates a bottom-up model of interaction, but the results are well worth the initial discomfort.
This is another element with which some executives struggle, mainly because the loss of immediate control can be disconcerting. Remember, creativity flourishes when you welcome independent thought.
The ideal solution is to explain which components, for example, budget and resources, are non-negotiable, and then leave your team to their own devices. Support failure with a philosophy of constant learning and continuous improvement.
The more diverse the life experiences and individual journeys of a group of people, the more possibility there is for new ideas to emerge.
While the standard benchmarks for diversity have become race, gender, and sexual orientation, factors like age, industry background, experience, and personality are just as, if not more, important. Encourage or initiate collaboration between individuals who do not usually get the opportunity to work together.
As with almost every other aspect of the efficient workplace, creativity flourishes when employees can see it personified in their leaders. Incorporate each of the five elements of creativity above into your own approach to work and demonstrate to your team that you are committed to healthy, collaborative innovation.
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