Creativity in Business

How Businesses can Learn from Creative Geniuses and Foster a Culture of Creativity

Savan Francis
Savan Francis/December 23, 2019

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of creativity? Some think that creativity is the prerogative of artists, while to some it is simply a form of inspiration that may strike anyone at any point. Anyway, the story of creativity is one that goes beyond personal anecdotes and incidents. And the best part of it is that it doesn’t have to be confined to a specific place and time. When cultivated properly, creativity can thrive in almost any place.

So your next question would be, what exactly is creativity? Well, creativity can constitute many things at the same time, and that is perhaps the beauty of it. While you may find many textbook definitions of the term, generally, you can define it as a creation of something uniquely meaningful from a combination of ideas. Creative thinking usually involves taking a non-linear approach to making sense of things.

If you can incorporate creative pursuits however small or big into your business atmosphere, it can absolutely offer rewarding results.

The role of creativity in a business environment       

When was the last time you heard about a popular brand that got to where it is today without introducing a creative idea to the world? Well, it is understandable if you can’t recall anyone right off the bat. The fact of the matter is, creativity remains to be an essential component of every successful business. When you foster creativity in a business environment, you are just an idea away from making it big. Likewise, creative thinking leads to the exploration of novel ideas in the workplace.

Why is it important? 

The more original your business idea, the more you will be able to distinguish yourself from others. Hence, the use of creativity in a business model can set it apart from its competitors. In fact, the world of business can be classified into two groups. You have those who create, and you have those who follow the creators.

Try for a moment to picture a business world devoid of creativity. A world without creativity is in a way a world without hope. The kind of hope that takes you on a journey towards achieving your goals.

Creativity thrives on collaboration. It’s the collaboration between creative individuals that turn ideas into reality. When you finally decide to think outside the box and start getting creative, you will find new doors of opportunities open before you.

Why should you have creative people in companies? 

Those who caution against pursuing creative channels are the same individuals who believe that there is no room for creativity in a professional business environment. However, the fact is that everyone in business has a way of tapping into their creative side when given the right encouragement and environment. The more important question is how are businesses getting the best out of the hidden talents of their employees?

Involving creative people in business activities has helped companies to solve business problems in effective ways. When it comes to problem-solving, being creative will not only get the job done but make people remember your brand the next time they search for a product or service. So, now you know you’ve got some creative individuals in your company, but how do you actually get the best out of them. And more importantly, how can you channel the creative energy into the whole team?

Mostly, the majority of creative muscle comes from a small portion of the team. However, if you can get all team members to chip in with contributions in their own capacity, it will take your business to the next level. Just imagine how your business can benefit from involving all team members in the creative brainstorming.

Inspiration is the driving force behind every creative activity. However, waiting for the right inspiration to appear is no different from extending your arms in the darkness as a form of prayer. Do not wait for inspiration to find you, rather you should go out in search of it.

So let’s see if your business can draw inspiration from some of the biggest creative minds in the history of humankind.

Mark Twain on turning work into play 

Renowned around the globe for his biting witticism, the American writer, Mark Twain is arguably one of the most quoted authors in the history of literature. Although his craft was limited to the realm of writing, his general thoughts about work can apply to people in all kinds of creative disciplines.

In a famous piece, Twain wrote for the Newyork Times, he talked about how when you start loving your work, it will no longer feel like work.

As the writer rightly puts it here; “the fellows who groan and sweat under the weary load of toil that they bear never can hope to do anything great. How can they when their souls are in a ferment of revolt against the employment of their hands and brains? The product of slavery, intellectual or physical, can never be great”.

Much of what he says here can actually be traced back to creativity. It’s interesting knowing that what he said 19th century rings truer to the contemporary world of today. Twain’s musings on work-life have come to shape the views of modern creators like Steve Job. Twain urges workers to make the distinction between the manual and creative work, and discover real happiness in the latter.

Stephen King’s Creative Sleep at workplace

As the author of 61 original novels, Stephen King can surely tell you a thing or two about creativity. Even after decades of success as a published author, Mr King insists on traversing uncharted territories to keep his creative juices flowing. He is a great believer in tapping into daily routine to find yourself in self-induced awe and explore your creative potential. King has even got a name for the process, creative sleep.

In his book “On writing: a memoir of the craft” King compares creative thinking to a wakeful dream state. What does he mean by this? Sleeping, for instance, enables us to remain physically still, encouraging us in the process to dispense with the monotonous thinking of our day to day life. Just as your body grows accustomed to hours of sleep at night, you can start training your waking mind to sleep creatively and conjure up waking dreams which are in fact the source of many successful fictional works.

Of course, just to clear things up, King is not urging you to fall asleep during the waking hours. On the contrary, he is offering us a way to explore our creative potential by lulling your waking mind into self-induced awe.

At the end of the day, the creative sleep process allows us to take control of our own world and create our own stuff without being distracted by the mundane details of everyday life. Before you try to put creative sleep into practice, whether it is at the workplace or your private room, you may want to keep in mind this piece of advice from E. B. White, a writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper”

Isaac Newton is on board with stealing others’ ideas

One of the most accomplished scientists to have ever set foot on planet earth, Isaac Newton, according to his contemporaries, was not the most agreeable person and was very difficult to get along with. However, when it came down to the art of creation, his softer and more human shades of humility always shone through.

Newton always saw himself as a child who was adrift in an ocean of ideas. Perhaps his humble approach to creative discovery speaks for itself in statements like this;

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”.

Newton cited the collective intelligence of civilizations as the catalyst for all kinds of truth pursuits. It’s the collective knowledge we passed on to generations that allowed civilizations to connect with each other across oceans and centuries. Newton attributed his zeal for discovery to his first time reading the works of Galileo and Kepler.

The myth of originality

Every time we hear the word discovery, we immediately think of something completely original that was discovered in the vacuum. However, in reality, what you think of as an original idea is essentially a new combination of old ideas. Of course, the link between different modes of knowledge may not be readily visible to everyone, but at the end of the day, there is no such thing as a completely original invention.

According to Newton, creativity can be defined as any attempt to find a connection between things we don’t know much about. With a more nuanced understanding of how creativity works, we could strive to push the boundaries of our knowledge base and look out for the right opportunities to be creative.

Just remember, in a business environment we don’t have to do things alone, there’s always inspirations and ideas lying around waiting to be stolen and adopted.  You have the licence to steal, just do so with the right amount of integrity and creativity.

Advantages of encouraging creativity in Businesses 

As you can clearly see by now, the process of incorporating creative energy into the workplace will benefit everyone involved. Creativity has a way of bringing together people from different departments and inspiring all of them to work towards realising a goal. As far as bringing about a sense of unity in the team goes, creativity can go a long way in improving the interaction level at the workplace. When team members come together and have a laid back time, the work environment will become more fun and enjoyable.

More importantly, this work environment will inspire employees to work harder and stay longer at the company. Creativity always leaves the door open for employees to experiment with new ideas and transform the business model from within. With creativity on your side, your business will always be more dynamic and open to change.

Why is the entrepreneurial environment a breeding ground for creativity? 

When you come to think about it, both creative people and entrepreneurs like to operate in similar conditions. Firstly, they don’t want to be fettered by the rigid setup of an enterprise. If they are working within a predefined framework with little to no room for creativity, they will not find the inspiration to create. Creativity flourishes when your team members are offered the freedom and time to be themselves.

While the security that nine-to-five jobs offer is absolutely essential for some employees, most of the creative types would welcome some flexibility in the working time. Some are turned off by the prospect of people breathing down their throat.

The creative people possess the unique knack of seeing similarities in completely unrelated things. Entrepreneurs are also known for being interested in knowledge pursuits. They want to learn new things and find out how they can use them to improve the business.

All work and no play makes creative type a dull person 

The saying “work hard, play hard” is becoming less and less popular in America. People are increasing their hours, taking less time off and extending their working years.

The popular adage “work hard, play hard” has been losing traction among working population everywhere. Work ethics is a virtue that is indeed commendable. However, it is not be all and end all in the world of entrepreneurship. Instead of running themselves into the ground, most entrepreneurs go after their goals after receiving the right amount of training and rest. Creative people for instance always come with innovative ways to manage their everyday entrepreneurial goals.

Businesses are often judged by the amount of influence they wield over customers. Hence, those who have mastered the art of influencing the right people are already halfway there. Most creative people are capable of a great deal of persuasion. It’s not always easy to get people to agree with your viewpoints. Your business will immensely benefit from housing creative people who have the capacity to establish the authenticity of their message and convince people to see its relevance.

Turning up creativity quotient a notch or two

It’s never easy to foster a culture of creativity in the workplace, especially when you have to deal with professionals from diverse backgrounds. Let’s look at some interesting ways in which you can get your employees to become more creative.

So let’s get them to put on their creative thinking cap.

Start challenging your employees intellectually 

Creative people generally possess a natural flair for solving problems. It will be a good idea to test the problem-solving skills of your employees by giving them real-time problems to solve in the workplace. Find out how creatively they are able to solve the problems. Don’t hesitate to put your team to the test. Make sure to have them feel challenged every day. Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard with the tasks and make them feel all stressed out by the end of the day. It’s absolutely vital that you strike the right balance.

Giving them the freedom of expression 

Employees are known for working to the best of their abilities when they are given the freedom to do what they want. When you are allowed to call your shots in a business environment, you should feel great and appreciated. Working on a project you never wanted to sign up for will only bog down the creative process. Allowing employees to work on things in their own way will help them stay creative.

You should also give them timely breaks when things get stressful. When you give them a chance to let off steam, they will be able to reorganise their thought process and channel their creative energy more organically.

Diversify the workgroups

The more diverse your team, the bigger their creative output. Many studies have long established the correlation between high-performing creative individuals and diverse workplace environment. Nothing inspires creative types into action better than

Creativity has a long history of flourishing in a marketplace of ideas. It gives employees a chance to hear a diverse range of opinions and shape their approach to solving problems. When was the last time you were in a meeting where you could hear a vast range of opinions? We bet you came away from the meeting feeling in awe over the endless possibilities you knew about. Now imagine how creative people will enjoy themselves when they get to collaborate with diverse groups in their regular working hours.

Offer employees organisational backing  

When you can help make your employees feel safe in the workplace, you can actually get them to reveal creative ideas for your business. Create a safe environment for employees and make them feel appreciated by offering them all the support from the management and co-workers. Knowing that they are operating with everyone’s support will help them create better without any fear of judgement. Of course, this shouldn’t deter employers from voicing their constructive criticism if and when the necessity arises. The goal of every organisation is to offer all the support for the employees through their ups and downs and help them perform at the highest level. You don’t necessarily have to be on board with every idea your employee suggests, but you should never say things that can have a disheartening effect on them.

Make sure to motivate employees and allow them to adopt creative thinking approach to solving every problem in your company. Remember, keeping your employees motivated is the most effective way to bring out the creativity in them.

As an advertising agency that offers creative solutions to everyday marketing problems faced by our clients, Mr. Digital understands the role of creativity in making the difference.

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