Is there such a thing as too creative?
When it comes to innovation, finding just the right balance of creativity and practicality may be key
Creativity is one of the best defining qualities of a good leader. Every organization needs innovative thinkers to move forward and stay relevant and competitive. So, it is very curious to me why so many companies fail to plan for “Creative time.” In fact, many discourage creativity all together – and push for productivity instead. Hmmm… how can creativity evolve in a stagnant environment?
On Demand creativity
In the fast-paced world of commerce we live in, too often creativity is stifled by the demands to produce more (of what we already do,) sell faster (increase revenue,) and demand efficiency (work fast with little resources.) While all of that is great for the bottom line, consumers don’t care about your company’s revenue. Without innovative ideas and creative new products, programs or proposals, consumer needs go unmet.
The creative process needs time to flow and free-form. Employers can support this process through regular team meetings where brainstorming and creative thinking are encouraged, and even rewarded. Encouraging the team to collaborate, regardless of how chaotic that may appear, will allow innovative (and yes sometimes seemingly far-fetched) ideas to emerge, evolve and expand. This type of innovation is what will carry a company into their next phase of existence.
Individual and collaborative spaces
Critical thinking skills are important to your company, yet they are often in opposition to creative thinking. Assemble your brainstorming team with diversity in mind, but stress respect and cooperative effort. Challenge the group to solve a problem or complete a challenge through a process of experimentation and exploration. If possible, provide a retreat-like atmosphere away from the normal work environment to avoid the distractions of day-to-day operations. To further the creative thinking allow for quiet spaces within the company doors for individuals and teams to go and find some time for introspection, team meetings or artistic expressions.
Creativity that’s right for your company
Once these creative juices are flowing you’re bound to have a myriad of inspired ideas, innovative projects and proposals. Know what’s right for your company. Even the most groundbreaking and imaginative ideas may not be useful to your business. If the brainstorming sessions do not bring forth concepts that can be put into action, or provide relevancy to your consumers, keep moving forward in the development refining the interactive parameters as necessary.
Balance it all out with business sense and innovation
All this talk of creativity and innovation may have you believing that “outside-the-box” thinking is critical. So, while some leeway needs to be afforded your team to provide space for creative thinking and problem solving, your company does have structure and a plan for growth. So, it is a team that can work within set parameters or company metrics, that will provide the most useful solutions. Working within the bounds of existing policy or governing rules will force your teams to adapt and reframe their approach to best fit the company needs.