Creativity is a key component of innovation, and innovation is integral to business survival. A creative climate not only inspires ideas and innovation, it establishes a positive environment where morale is high and employees are motivated and invested in outcomes and success.
Here are a few tips for setting the foundation for a creative work environment:
Creativity can’t exist in an inflexible, highly controlled environment. Instead of focusing on tasks and process, focus on outcomes and goals. Empower employees to reach their goals through freedom to perform jobs and tasks in their own way. Creativity is a natural byproduct of problem solving and strategizing, which leads to ideas and innovation. Empowering employees indicates your confidence in their abilities and skills.
Trust and Inclusion
Creativity requires an environment where trust, openness and inclusion are valued. Employees need to feel comfortable in order to share ideas without risk of embarrassment. Listening, support and open communication are important tools for promoting collaboration, which generates a sense of excitement and encourages the desire to participate.
Risks and Challenge
Challenges, problem solving and taking risks are key elements of a creative environment. Employees should be encouraged to set aside time to brainstorm new ideas, research new information, experiment and share. Without risk, development and innovation won’t be achieved. Ideas and suggestions that don’t pan out make for perfect opportunities for learning and growth.
Interpersonal conflict causes emotional tension that is detrimental to any business and should be resolved immediately. Collaborative conflict that arises from discussion, brainstorming and debate is a healthy part of the creative process that gives rise to innovation through differing perspectives, experiences and ideas. This type of conflict focuses on tasks, concepts, and solutions as opposed to personalities and people.
Culture of Positivity
Encouraging spontaneity, humour, and respect creates a positive culture where employees feel at ease and are comfortable with each other. Employees are invested in success when they feel their work is valued and their contributions are recognized. Negativity can build when work becomes overwhelming, confidence in leadership is lacking, competition is valued over collaboration, or when work lacks challenge. Negativity is toxic to morale and creativity, thus it’s crucial to resolve it as soon as possible.
Consider how your physical environment impacts creativity. Is there enough natural light? Are seating and work spaces comfortable? Is the ambiance and decor inspirational and appropriate? Are there areas that foster creativity and collaboration? Are there private areas for productivity, planning and thinking? Are there social spaces that encourage connection and positivity?
Building a creative work environment takes a commitment to establishing a business culture that supports it, and the results are plentiful. Creativity is the path to innovation, which is a key driver of business success.
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