The words ‘creativity’ and ‘workplace’ don’t always sit comfortably next to one another. The workplace often evokes thoughts of a desk, 9-5, paperwork and dreams of the weekend. Creativity on the other hand is all about freedom – art, play, outdoors…. At first glance, it would seem the workplace is the last place you would look for creativity. But if you want your business to succeed, you need to start seeing this in a different way.
Creativity at work means taking risks. It means taking you and your team out of your comfort zone, and into the unknown. Injecting creativity into your workplace is one of the most important steps to success. If you can find a way to apply it to your workplace, you will unlock new, fresh and innovative ideas.
Being creative in the workplace goes far beyond using coloured paper instead of plain old white, or creating a pretty PowerPoint presentation. Instead, there are two main ways creativity can hugely benefit you in the workplace; creative thinking and creative problem solving.
If you are a natural creative thinker, you regularly come up with new and exciting ideas. For many this isn’t easy, you tend to fall back on tried and tested ideas and thought processes, you are confident are robust and safe. To start thinking creatively, you need be brave and allow yourself the freedom to explore. The willingness to consider options and ideas which seem outlandish will open up possibilities and could result in a fantastic new way of looking at things.
In order to really succeed with creative thinking, you need to learn to find the success in failure. Being creative means taking risks, and taking risks means you will sometimes fail. If you are always looking for a perfect success, you are not taking risks and you are staying within your safety bubble. The ability to confidently upset the status quo is what makes creative thinkers so valued in the workplace.
Creative Problem Solving
Creative problem solving is valuable when there is an issue to fix without an obvious answer. While a lot of problems in the workplace have a clear solution, creative problem solving encourages looking at the issue from at all sides of the issues to explore solutions in new and interesting ways.
Organisations will always benefit from creative problem solving because it can you in a whole new direction and look at it with fresh eyes.
Creative thinking skills
In order to think about something in a new way, you first need to understand it. By analysing the situation you will develop a deeper appreciation of what needs to change. Again, this can apply to anything; from planning a new office layout (what works and doesn’t work now?), to completing finance spreadsheets (is it easy to input, can it be understood?). Analysing the current order of things provides the foundation for creative thinking.
To consider thing in a new way you need to let go of previous thinking. Consider carefully assumptions and biases, be mindful of thought processes, question yourself. Be open to making mistakes and hitting a few dead ends before making a break through. Take yourself out of your comfort zone.
New ideas need new structures. Creative thinkers often organise ideas so that others can understand their vision. Having the ability to structure a thought and turn it into a plan with a process, goal and deadline is essential.
Whilst it’s great to have new ideas, they are only useful if they can be communicated to others. Strong written and verbal communication skills will help paint a picture and engage others. Good listening skills will also assist this process. Similarly to analysing the situation, if you take time to listen to others you will gain a greater understanding of the situation which will assist you greatly going forwards.
Engage in Learning provide Decision Making Pathway courses which will help you develop creative thinking and problem solving skills. The Thinking Creatively course will teach you how to overcome blocks to creative thinking in the team and harness different thinking styles.