Is your business merely existing? Can your actions and accomplishments be described as “next-level?” If you answered, “Yes,” and then, “No,” to these questions in that order, you are probably operating in a creativity-starved environment, void of fulfillment and top-tier performance. Creativity actually has a very direct and tangible impact on business, and not just in the creative sector (advertising, for example). Creativity can turn an otherwise lackluster and bland product, campaign, office atmosphere or presentation into something sensational. Creativity can produce fatter profits, happier employees and a better public image.
For all of the obvious benefits that creativity brings, it seems as if the majority of the business world too often relies on “proven” methods, falls into a rut and quits innovating. This is probably most often the case in mature campanies where the atmosphere and personnel may seem more like a museum rather than a movement. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve asked some of the most creative people I could find to define creativity, to explain what it means to them, to explain how to facilitate it and what the results can be.
When it comes to social media (one of my personal passions and a frequent subject of this blog), creativity is an often overlooked, but essential, piece of finding success. Outside of social media, many business sectors are badly lacking in creativity and I hope this post can help to inspire leaders to lead more effectively and equip workers to lobby for a more creative environment. Do you have any ideas or insights on creativity that you’d like to add? If so, leave us a comment!
Combine Creativity and Simplicity for Powerful Results
Contributed by: Leslie Berland, SVP, Digital Partnerships and Development, American Express
To me, creativity is not centered around a skill-set but rather a state of mind and being empowered to think freely. There are tons of creative ideas expressed daily in so many different ways—but if they aren’t realistic, achievable or executable, there is little power in them. I find the most creative ideas are often the most simple. We live in a very noisy and information-cluttered world, true creativity becomes apparent if you can figure out a way to break through with a simple and powerful idea. The only way to truly foster creativity and innovation is to empower teams to think outside of parameters, guidelines, and norms. And equally important, leaders have to be open-minded, supportive and embracing. There needs to be a culture of ‘what if’…and ‘imagine if’… On my team, we seek to bring that energy and approach to everything we do, every day.
Don’t Rely on Safe Best Practices
Contributed by: Chelsea Howe, Director of Design at SuperBetter Labs
Creativity not only affects a company’s bottom line—it’s vital to success. Creative companies thrive even with tough constraints. They develop disruptive solutions while competitors rely on old constructs and safe best practices. And in an increasingly fast-paced world, creative companies bring novelty—a necessary survival trait when attention is currency.
Give Consumers the Creativity They Crave
Creativity is like air. It’s essential. It’s everywhere. Everyone breathes. Everyone is creative because everyone has an imagination, ideas, and dreams. Spurning creativity is like spurning air. As consumers, we are demanding, and paying for, more than just creativity. We want applied, well-executed creativity that addresses our needs and solves our problems. We want more than just creative novelty and delight, we want to be nourished, enriched, better connected with our fellow humans, and invited to participate and co-create.
Source Creativity from Many Departments
Contributed by: William Donnell, Lead Designtist at POPVOX
Creativity is about finding unique ways to solve problems. That can be done in a sales pitch or in writing code. Innovation is a byproduct of that creativity and consumers have come to expect innovation.
Companies that innovate best create an environment where people outside of the “creative department” can get involved in that problem solving. There is something magical that happens when you get people from different disciplines together around a table and focus on solving real problems. The perspective of how an engineer might solve a design problem can lead the financial guy to throw out an idea.
Linus Pauling said, “the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” Creative ideas can come from anywhere when given the chance to be heard.
For Best Results, Give Employees Simulated Time Off
Contributed by: Peter Reid, Creative Director, Huge Los Angeles
We constantly need to keep our employees inspired, and a lot of times this means leaving our offices for a moment and getting outside. Bond them together by either exposing your employees to other creative processes or with simulated “time off.” Get your employees to a museum, to a cooking class, to an architectural tour, to a picnic in the park or simply treat them to drinks at a favorite local spot. Most importantly, find time during the work day to accomplish this. Your employees will thank you for it, and in turn, will respect you even more.
Turn Dreams Into Reality
Contributed by: Miriah Meyer, assistant professor of computer science at the University of Utah
Creativity allows us to take risks. The risk might be investing in a start-up to develop a prototype into a marketable and successful product, or supporting a researcher with a grand vision. The success of a risky idea relies on creativity for getting out of dead-ends, for working within a set of constraints, for figuring out how to do something new with something old, for forging new paths. The existence of creativity lets us dream big and commit resources to making those dreams become reality.