3 Keys to Enhance Creativity in Companies

Despite all the hype surrounding creativity in recent years, creative muscles remain largely underdeveloped at the corporate level. Although most organizations have finally understood the importance of innovation and have consequently implemented strategies for it, the reality is that they will not be able to create new products, services, and processes until the teams themselves become more creative. And teams do not become more creative because, in many cases, organizational systems prevent it, and leaders don’t understand how creativity works.

The Dynamics of Creativity

To begin with, it’s often hampered by bureaucratic, hierarchical, and restrictive processes. Creativity also requires time and space to flourish. When we have excessively “efficient” corporate cultures, in which measures and practices are implemented to control and regulate the time spent on each task, or calendars are filled with meetings, creativity tends to wither.

How do we prevent stifling team creativity in an environment that values efficiency? The answer might be surprising: You probably can’t. The truth is, creativity tends to be inefficient in the way we currently understand efficiency. The corporate ideal of what a productive and efficient workday should look like stands as the foremost and most substantial obstacle to nurturing more creative teams. Creativity thrives on effectiveness rather than efficiency or productivity. That’s why fostering creativity within the organization calls for a genuine cultural shift.

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1. Innovation Culture: The Creative Pulse of the Company

Creativity and innovation go hand in hand, influencing both individuals and teams. In cultures that foster innovation, there’s room for a multitude of ideas—good and bad alike. These environments also embrace the possibility of failure, celebrating original concepts and working to turn them into tangible realities for the business. The ultimate goal is to see these innovations translate into improved results. If that doesn’t happen, there’s no punishment. A healthy acceptance of failure is seen as a positive sign that innovation is thriving. Of course, it’s crucial to be mindful of where and how failures occur. It’s not about neglecting the business, but rather reducing fear and stigma within teams when it comes to the idea of failure.


Strategies to foster corporate creativity and drive cultural change:

  • Promoting diversity of thought: Two minds are better than one, especially when they come together. Teams composed of people with diverse backgrounds are crucial for bringing in varied perspectives and experiences that can enrich the creative process.
  • Investing in innovative ideas, even when there’s fear of failure: In the 1970s, a young computer scientist named Edwin Catmull developed groundbreaking technology for computer animation. Catmull and his team pitched this technology to various Hollywood studios, facing outright rejection until, in 1991, they secured an agreement with Walt Disney Studios that provided much needed financial support. In 1995, Catmull and his team made a breakthrough in the film industry with the release of ‘Toy Story,’ marking a pivotal moment in the industry.
  • Time and resources for experimentation: Allocating time during the workday for employees to work on personal projects or generate ideas will foster their creativity. This can be further encouraged through the allocation of resources such as funds for innovation projects or access to new technologies — but most importantly, with a mindset shift regarding the use of time. As we mentioned earlier, dedicating time to creativity may seem inefficient to leaders and old-school executives; but, it’s precisely in these non-productive spaces that creativity thrives.


2. Creative Work Spaces

When we think about a workplace, we often picture dull, uninspiring, and impersonal offices. But what if work environments were the total opposite? Take Google offices, for instance, famous for their innovative and energizing design. These spaces are specifically designed to inspire and motivate employees, encouraging them to explore fresh and daring ideas. By creating an atmosphere in which creativity and innovation can thrive, it highlights how a well-designed workspace can be a crucial factor in nurturing business creativity.


3. Creative Management and Leadership

For creativity to permeate teams, it needs to be firmly rooted in the leaders. Leaders don’t necessarily have to see themselves as ‘creative,’ although that can be beneficial. What’s crucial is that they manage their teams in a way that allows creativity to flow.


Management strategies to encourage creativity in teams:

  • Autonomy and Empowerment: Motivating employees and making them feel capable, with the freedom to explore their own ideas and approaches, enables them to make decisions independently and fosters the development of their creativity.
  • Effective Communication: When facing team challenges or business issues, open discussions can spark a range of creative solutions. Fostering this kind of communication not only improves problem-solving but also strengthens the sense of community and collaboration within the company.
  • Recognition and Support: Acknowledging and celebrating creativity are essential for cultivating a motivating environment. It’s not solely about limiting recognition to achievements; rather, it involves celebrating creativity for its inherent value. First comes the inspiration, then comes the benefit. Offering support and resources to develop promising ideas demonstrates the company’s commitment to valuing innovation and investing in it. This includes recognition in meetings, but also allocating budgets for innovative projects. When employees feel that their creative contributions are valued, they become more engaged and motivated to continue fostering innovation.

By combining inspiring leadership with effective management strategies, companies can create an environment where creativity and innovation are not only possible but also integral parts of the corporate culture.

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