In recent pieces, we’ve focused on driving continuous improvement and developing outside the box thinking across your organization. Both are rooted in great ideas, the best of which tend to flow when you encourage creative thought.
That can be easier said than done. Not everyone is able to channel or express their great ideas as easily as others, even though every member of your team has something valuable to contribute. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to contribute and feel like a part of the process, though. That comes down to your company management, training, and creating an atmosphere that motivates everyone to offer their opinion.
Even when you feel like you have a lot of creative individuals in your midst, it’s worth taking the time to expand the idea pool as wide as you can take it. A few simple ideas can help you to do that, as well as giving a broader perspective on ways to improve an organization.
3 Ways to Encourage Creative Thought
When you find a block or limited layer of contributors to your creative process, consider employing the following ideas:
- Don’t just copy what everyone else is doing: Is everyone in your sector doing the same thing? It’s important to benchmark and understand what your competitors are up to, but all too easy to be drawn into emulation. It’s far more preferable to be the company that everyone else copies, rather than the one always playing catch up with competitors. Consider how you can create more meaningful ways to serve and connect with customers. This could be improving existing processes, adjusting based on feedback from those who buy from you, or acting upon any other source of external input.
- Search outside of your niche: In the same vein, it’s limiting to only examine what’s happening in your industry. Observing other spaces offers a fresh perspective, from which the observer finds new inspiration. Industries can be just as prone to silo thinking as individuals, so make sure you read and research around sectors that have no direct relation to your own. You’ll be surprised how many lateral connections the mind can make between seemingly unrelated topics, and the powerful potential to gain a competitive advantage when you apply the resulting ideas in your industry.
- Craft a collaborative environment, inside and outside the office: Developing the right environment for employees to engage in creative thought is just as important as allowing time for it in the first place. Experiment with different ways to draw out ideas from different groups of people. Weekly work groups, team building exercises, cross-departmental meetings, and visiting offsite meeting spaces are all worth considering when you’re trying to drive greater collaboration.
How do you encourage creative thought in your organization?