Being creative is more than just coming up with new ideas for products, or cost reductions. It’s a tool that can be used in many ways and situations. Creative people are better problem solvers and tend to overcome obstacles to reaching goals better than plodders. Research shows that people are much more creative and productive when they feel happy says Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard University.
“Creativity is not a talent; it’s a way of operating.”
Having a hard time coming up with new ideas with your team? A few practical tips to build a more creative team.
Learn each team members’ distinctive talents The areas (work-related or not) where someone best displays incredible performance and creates incredible energy. People tend to be most naturally creative in these areas, even if the skills themselves wouldn’t typically be considered “creative”.
Open Up the Table
The first step in getting good ideas from your team is to simply ask for them. Make it known that you are looking for and expect great ideas, and your team will start mulling things over
Applying the LCS system to nurture new ideas
You don’t want to squash brand-new ideas before they have a chance to develop, so you should react by using the three-part LCS system:
L is for likes, as in, “What I like about your idea . . .” Begin with some positive comments to encourage people to let loose with every creative idea that comes to mind.
C is for concerns, as in, “What concerns me about your idea . . .” Sharing concerns begins dialogue that opens up and expands the creative process. As you point out a concern, someone else in the group is likely to offer a creative solution.
S is for suggestions, as in, “I have a few suggestions . . .” Offering suggestions moves the brainstorming session along and may lead to the generation of a brand-new set of ideas
Communicate Hold regular meetings and brainstorming sessions to discuss ideas. Take notes and follow-up on past discussions.
Reward creativity Motivate individuals or teams who come up with winning ideas by actively recognising creativity.
If you want to get employees to think out-of-the-box, you need to motivate them with some form of rewards. Moreover, suggestions have to be taken seriously so that employees are willing to come up with more creative ways of improving the workplace. Otherwise, everyone will think it’s a waste of time to squeeze out creative juices for suggestions that won’t be implemented anyway.
Give people time to think independently before an idea meeting We often bring a group together to brainstorm, then encourage people to keep thinking about things on their own afterward. But Thompson says the data are clear that “…groups organized with alone-then-group hybrid structure generate more ideas, better ideas, and are better able to discern the quality of the ideas they generate.”
Make the team’s work fun and engaging If your team is having fun, they are likely to be relaxed and, consequently, more open and creative. Look for games, contests, and other engaging activities to raise the “fun level” for your team.
Encourage Everyone needs encouragement, so make sure to be the cheerleader now and then. I think positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage creative thought.
“In creativity Practice builds competence and competence builds confidence.”
Mix it up Multi-cultural and mixed gender teams tend to have higher creative output.
Make time for brainstorming Always start a brainstorming session with a clear objective and a list of solid, probing questions. Better yet, have someone other than you facilitate the session to allow the maximum freedom to contribute creatively.
Challenge the team with deadlines or goals Sometimes people work better with a deadline or goal (such as, “let’s generate 20 new ideas in the next hour”). Use the intense focus that deadline pressure can create to your advantage.
Be supportive Respond enthusiastically to all ideas and never make someone offering an idea feel foolish. Give even the most apparently outlandish of ideas a chance to be aired.
The lesson for leaders Let the people working for you play, play, play. Don’t let them be overburdened by routine and mundane tasks. Build on their curiosity.
Like anything else of importance and value, creativity must be encouraged. Create a culture that embraces and inspires creativity.
Please Share your thoughts on creating an idea-driven culture.