In an IBM study on more than 1500 CEOs, creativity was found to be considered the most important trait for the 21st century business environment. Creative companies have an edge over their competition by being able to anticipate and create market trends, and by being able to solve problems as soon as they arise.
Contrary to popular belief, establishing a creative company is less difficult than you might think, especially if we break the problem into smaller, easier to manage goals:
1. Increase employee creativity
Creativity can be taught and learned, just like any other skill. Organize training sessions through which your employees can learn how to be more creative.
Identify people with high creativity and invest in developing their leadership skills. Place them in charge of small projects and teams at first, and see how they do.
Hire candidates with high creativity. Once you’ve established you want more creative employees, you should make creativity one of the main requirements for a position in your company.
2. Create a creativity stimulating environment
Bigger spaces are thought to increase creativity. Clutter creates stress and distraction. Think about redesigning your office space to be more relaxing and interesting.
Help people feel at ease at work. Create individual working spaces if possible, which your employees can design as they like. If it’s not possible, at least create a few spaces where your employees can go to and reflect on their ideas in solitude.
3. Create a team
Sometimes people need to work as a team in order to come up with the most creative solutions. Involve your employees in team activities which will make them feel more comfortable working together.
Create teams of employees of both genders, with different cultural backgrounds. Such teams tend to be more creative.
4. Cooperate and learn
Maintaining good relations with other firms in your field not only turns a competitive relationship in a possibly more profitable, collaborative one, it also gives you access to knowledge you can use to increase your company’s creativity.
Last but not least, remember that your customers are a great source of innovative ideas. Ask for suggestions and take those suggestions into account. You might see that your customers may sometimes come up with very creative solutions to problems you hadn’t even identified before.