Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Boost Creativity in the Workplace (republished with permission from eCare4me)

“I’m just not a very creative person.” Have you ever said these words or heard a colleague say them? If so, it may be time to re-evaluate how you see creativity and start training yourself to think more creatively, which often means more effectively. After all, creative thinking is often a driving force in a company’s progress.

According to Charles Hulten, professor of economics at the University of Maryland, the modern business world is demanding more and more conceptual thinking and with this, comes new innovations linked to creative thinking. “Every job is a creative job,” he says “A barista, for example, can create new drinks and greet customers in a variety of ways to add to the coffee shop experience.” No matter what your job entails, a bit of creativity can go a long way in helping you streamline your tasks and enjoy what you do.

Creativity is intelligence having fun

Einstein said it best when he linked creativity with both fun and intelligence. It is important to acknowledge that while creativity is often linked to fun and may seem like a time waster, it can result in powerful outcomes. Allowing yourself to think creatively gives you greater flexibility in your thinking and widens your perspectives. It also helps you to explore alternatives and foster a more open-minded work environment. According to Forbes magazine, creativity is much more of a skill than a mystery and with a little practice; you can master it. 

So, how can you invite creativity into your work life? Here are some suggestions.
  • Doodle Keep a notepad on your desk at work that is purely dedicated to doodling. Draw pictures, write words, and see what happens. Using colour is also a good idea. When our brains are in an unconscious state, we are often able to make clever connections and solve problems easier. 
  • Experiment Try doing something different in your life, even if it’s not linked to work. Go to a new restaurant, take up an unusual hobby, watch a movie or read a book that would normally not interest you. You’ll be surprised at the new insights you can gain by exploring new experiences.
  • Play As children, we expressed our creativity by playing. Playing games in the office, where appropriate, can stimulate fresh thinking, foster team relationships, and up innovation. If you’re focusing on a task, pop in some earphones and play soft background music or ambient sounds. Research has found that this helps to stimulate our imagination which is a key component in the creative process.
  • Think in opposites Creativity is about exploring the unexpected. Change the order of how you see and do things at work: start a meeting from the end of the agenda; present from the back of the boardroom; send an email with a few answers before asking the questions.
  • Laugh Humour can inspire creativity at work. A jovial discussion and a playful environment can encourage people to come up with unconventional solutions to problems and alleviate day-to-day stress. 

Challenge yourself to think out-of-the-box this week. This will help to inspire you to see things in a new light and the possibilities that come with this are endless. It may also motivate your colleagues to be more creative too. Let us know what creative techniques work for you by sharing it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or via Email.