Creativity is a hot topic nowadays. Top business schools are all over it, investigating how a creative mind makes for a successful business tactic. In fact, it’s becoming more apparent that creativity and logic are the ‘yin and yang’ of effective strategy.
Picture business strategy as a game of chess, and we can start to understand how creativity can spark that lightbulb solution and enable a checkmate. It’s all about innovation and pushing boundaries, or in the words of the German philosopher Goethe,
“daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”
But what, exactly, is creativity?
According to Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, it’s
“the power to create something new, to reach deep into our subconscious for that 'aha' solution.”
We can also learn a lot from the Latin words, ‘creare’ (to invent, create, produce) and ‘crescere’ (to happen and to grow), which have evolved into the term ‘creativity’ as we know it today. They teach us that growth and innovation can’t occur without a creative approach.
Now for the science-y bit... Creative thought takes place in the right associative brain hemisphere, whilst logical thinking happens in the left associative brain hemisphere. Two parts of the brain that, when used in conjunction with one another, can be a force to be reckoned with.
Make no mistake, creativity doesn’t have to be expressed through a piece of visual art or interpretive dance… Being creative is about being proactive and perceptive of the things that happen around us. It’s about using our curiosities and observations to connect experiences and synthesize new things.
So why is it important in business?
These qualities of curiosity, sensitivity, and spontaneity are vital for a business to flourish and to maintain success. Analytical, logical thinkers will be better at their jobs (and at chess!) if they can think outside the box, and approach problems from renewed viewpoints in order to provide creative solutions. A truly innovative idea isn’t just a tweak to the system. It’s a radical new perspective that leads to something entirely new. It provides a fresh and superior replacement to old and tired ways of operating.
Creativity at work is great because it:
Promotes problem solving and productivity
Encourages analytical rigor and innovative thinking to provide breakthrough solutions
Allows businesses to stay ahead of their competitors
Encourages communication of findings and results to become more engaging
Helps to provide a more innovative and spontaneous work environment
Enhances collaborative teamwork and increases staff morale
Improves a business’s ability to attract and retain quality employees
Putting it into practice…
Feeling uninspired? There are many ways re-ignite your creative flame and bring a fresh perspective to your work…
Intellectual and thought-provoking conversation can help to inspire you and those you work with. It’s a great way to learn about the thoughts and perspectives of colleagues and makes teamwork more varied and rewarding. Innovation flourishes in a team environment, so share your ideas with others. It might just spark something ground-breaking.
If you lead a team at work, there are many ways to actively foster creativity and innovation in the office. Start by becoming a creative role model, and provide your team with an environment that encourages new perspectives and fresh ways of thinking. Give greater time and attention to the more ‘off-the-wall’ ideas. Rather than shooting down wacky suggestions, suspend your judgement and be open to new approaches and viewpoints, no matter where they come from. Use this as a building block for development and progress. As long as an idea is appropriate and do-able, it could be an effective way to improve how things get done.
So, a lesson learnt. By being more creative you can find that ‘aha’ solution and take your organisation one step closer to that checkmate victory.