Developing Creativity
Developing Creativity

Simple Ways to Inspire Employees to Do More

Is creativity innate or can it be developed? Can organizations identify ways to foster workplace innovation and inspire employees to release their creativity?

“Creativity is seeing what others do not see and thinking what no one else has considered,” Einstein famously said. Robert F. Kennedy stated something similar, “I look at things as they are and wonder why they are. I consider things that never were and wonder why they were not.” Both were referring to the same thing – people’s capacity for creative thought.

As mentioned in the article titled The Search for Creativity: Can Innovation Save an Organization in Volatile Times? , having employees who are inherently creative and resourceful can play a critical part in securing an organizations’ leadership position in the market, through innovative product development and creative operational problem-solving.

Once the organization has successfully attracted and selected the required creative individuals, the next challenge is to develop and sustain creativity in the workplace. Naturally, the obvious question emerges, “Can creativity be truly developed?” Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” With this in mind, here are a few suggestions to promote workplace creativity and inspire employees to think outside the box.

No Restraints

It is important to try to understand what causes employees’ lack of creativity, especially if they were creative in the past. Are they too busy to reflect? Creativity takes time – employees must be allowed to brainstorm, work on a project and think outside the box. Also, creativity requires support and ongoing encouragement. If they come up with an idea dismissed by their manager as ridiculous, chances are that next time they will feel less inclined to express their ideas.

Include Everyone

All organizations should eliminate the limiting belief that only some people are creative. Everyone is born with a creative brain – the right cerebral hemisphere. Children are inherently curious and inventive, spending hours with their imaginary friends. But as they grow, they are discouraged from using their imagination – “don’t do that”, “stay still”, “stop asking all these questions”. As a result, they start using more of their left-brain thinking skills in school and, later on, at work. Studies have shown that people’s ability to think creatively reduces from 90% at age 5, to 20% at age 7, and even further to 2% as adults. Despite this, everyone still has a creative brain, they may just not be using it as much as they used to.

Encourage Idea Generation

Getting fresh ideas requires time and group support. Setting aside dedicated “creative thinking” time is a must. So is encouraging employees to think out loud, look for patterns and research a different industry for fresh ideas.


Problem-solving Skills

Creativity should be encouraged and cultivated by healthy debates and questioning. Using visual techniques, story-telling, and allowing employees to “sleep on it” – will all lead to a more creative workplace. Most breakthroughs come out of the blue, when people are not even thinking about the issue.

Reward Creative Ideas

Just as employees need to feel supported for their ideas, they also need to be rewarded accordingly. The rewards don’t have to be substantial in nature, but they should be public so that employees feel motivated to continue generating original ideas.

There are No Mistakes

Studies show that 80% of innovations occur by mistake. As such, people should feel encouraged to do quick experiments. Most new ideas will fail, but chances are that from these failures, a new idea will emerge that will prove much more successful than people expected the initial idea to be.

Further reading suggestions: The Search for Creativity: Can Innovation Save an Organization in Volatile Times?



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