How often has Creativity (Innovation) come up as a key strategic initiative in your company? I bet you’re noticing a common theme in the articles you’re reading, too.

This corporate Creativity/Innovation mandate is shaking up everyone’s agenda as it adds further pressure to an already overloaded work calendar while stretching employees past their comfort zone.

A University of Phoenix survey found, only one in 10 hiring managers say their employees excel at innovation, yet 49 percent see innovation as a very important employee trait.[1] If you already are or your intention is to be the future of your company, the writing is on the wall; you must deliver Creativity and Innovation.

The truth is you don’t have to be a Creativity-god to produce results nor does it entail a huge chunk of your time. Just observe the work practices around you from a process improvement point-of-view that’s Creativity in action!

Corporate Creativity strategies now compel you to investigate processes, services or products with an original, “independent of what has gone before” mindset. It is you making connections and putting ideas together in ways that inspire others or lead to new solutions. And although we’re discussing it as a singular pursuit, Creativity is rarely a lone-wolf endeavor rather it is the collaborative spark of everyone as each adds value to the whole.

How can you become more comfortable demonstrating a creative and innovative mindset?

Curiosity Opens the Mind: Inquiring and listening with an ear to incorporate new thinking unlocks your brain to Creativity. The very act of asking generates the underpinning for advancing product/service innovations, process improvements, and strengthening customer satisfaction.

The Environment: What are some factors that stunt Creativity?

  • Being given set rules for problem-solving;
  • Being under pressure;
  • Being too closely supervised;
  • Being criticized too early in the invention/reinvention process;
  • Being limited to only one solution.

Set the stage for Creativity by producing a safe space where contemplation and dialogue encourage both the crazy and the great ideas to unfold. Do not settle for one answer. Introduce a problem solution, and, and, culture. Put on your “explorer looking for gold” attitude to be open to all ideas—particularly the wild and contentious ones.

Cross-Fertilization: Subjective evidence reveals that highly creative individuals find as they are working on several projects simultaneously, the Creativity energy generated from one often spurs breakthrough for multiple assignments.

Pause and Check-In: If all around you executives are scratching their heads over your ideas or are just outright rejecting them, you’ll want to confirm everyone is on the same page. If they aren’t, “rethink your approach.” This pause will have you asking exploratory questions leading to an essential re-shift. Then, go back to the basics: Has the groundwork been laid before the big presentation for the decision-making executives to have clarity on this topic? Will the ideas add to the organization’s bottom-line? Does the concept fit the company’s culture or is there additional work that needs to be done to implement it?

In today’s marketplace, where ideas bubbling up may make the difference between healthy profit margins or not, don’t hold back. If you have ideas, share them. After all, it’s the lifeblood of an organization, and it is vital for your successful career.

 

[1] Human Resource Executive, Who Owns Innovation? May 2017

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