There is little doubt that companies that foster a culture of creativity will outperform, by a large margin, those that do not. A number of sources have proven this fact and I recommend reading The Future of Management for great examples.
Unfortunately, it seems to be difficult for companies to actually create an innovative culture. One where creativity is fostered and expected at all levels of the corporation. Companies that truly innovate tap into the creativity of each and every employee. They strive to enhance the creativity that exists in each individual.
We all enter this world with a vast amount of creativity. Think about your childhood and the how creative you were. Did you make up silly games? Did you tell fanciful stories? Did you sing, draw, dance? You were a very creative individual.
As we enter school, and eventually the workforce, the “system” strives to extinguish that creativity. We must become similar, we must not deviate outside the norm, we must comply. What a dull and uninteresting world we are creating. Corporate America seems to have perfected this ability to create a workforce of sameness. Training programs and rating systems are created to ensure everyone is molded into the same corporate citizen, much like the Stepford children.
This can be reversed! We can find and unleash our creativity! Why? True innovation is born from a thousand ideas. Creation of thousands of ideas is not the domain of the few. Thousands of ideas are created by fueling creativity across all employees. It is from these thousands of ideas that we find the game changers. It is the game changer that catapults profits.
Why then do we not unleash the creativity bottled up in every employee? There are many barriers but one is that change will upset the status quo. When every employee becomes a creative force then why do we need to have jobs specifically for creativity? Often these areas of the organization feel it is their responsibility to monitor for “unauthorized” creativity. They then fell a responsibility to maintain the status quo by dousing the fires of creativity that threatens their existence. Dousing creativity which is exactly what we need to foster in our companies.
My advice, as a good friend of mine likes to say, nurture the freaks.
- Encourage creative thinking
- Encourage people to bring non-work skills and passions to the workplace
- Encourage people to foster their unique strengths
- Encourage people to step outside of job descriptions
- Encourage people to have fun
- Encourage people to resist compliance