I've worked as a creative in many roles for many years. And along the way, I've learnt a few lessons which I'd like to share. These are my top 5 tips for building a creative culture, every day of the week, whether working remote or in-house.
1. Have the right ATTITUDE
Many companies believe that having more creative thinking tools and techniques will make them a more creative business. Wrong! Tools are only as good as the people who use them.
The greatest enemy of creativity is self-doubt. People who don't believe they are creative — and there are many such people in the workplace – will approach every creative task with that limiting self-belief.
“We are an organisation filled with creative talent. We are a place where original ideas and thinking are cultivated and celebrated.”
This is the sort of attitude and conviction that needs to sit at the heart of a creative culture.
2. Be in the right WORLD
There are two worlds at work.
- The (left brain) rational world of commerce.
- The (right brain) imaginative world of creativity.
Recognising this distinction is essential to the creative process.
The imaginative world of creativity requires special care and handling, an open mind, and a willingness to take risks by sharing your ideas. You must set the scene and the tone for a creative meeting or conversation. Everyone must know that “this is a creative meeting”, and that different rules apply; rules such as, “No judgement”.
Budget updates or work-in-progress meetings are not the right forum to present your creative thinking. I once presented a brilliant idea to a client at a planning meeting, and it fell flat because I wasn't in the right world.
3. Have the right PLAN
- Creativity is not something that just happens. It needs to be planned for as a distinct activity or process, constantly nurtured and cultivated, and made to happen as an everyday business activity.
- Set aside designated creative spaces.
- Set aside time in people's diaries for creativity.
- Call out examples of creativity at your townhall or team meetings.
- Make creativity a KPI.
- Appoint a nominated creativity champion, who's role it is to keep feeding the fire that fuels creativity across the business.
- Make creativity a daily habit and keep it top-of-mind by showcasing examples of creativity around the office.
4. Use the right TECHNIQUES
Creative thinking techniques are useful and valuable (given the right attitude). And the best techniques (in my view) are those developed by Edward de Bono, the founder and father of lateral thinking.
Lateral thinking recognises that people are naturally and normally trapped in a world of “yes/no logic” (the rational world of commerce). It's almost impossible to come up with new and original ideas when you are trapped in a “yes/no logic” mindset.
The purpose of the lateral thinking technique is to shift people out of this mindset, which is best achieved by using de Bono's Six Thinking Hats methodology in a well facilitated brainstorming session.
5. Have the right FOLLOW-UP
Having original, creative ideas can be easily achieved. A brainstorming session, for example, might generate as many as 200 different ideas. They get written up, sent around to the team, and that's the last anyone sees of them again – because they are nothing more than a list of vague or flimsy ideas.
Good follow-up will reduce this list of ideas to two or three realistic, actionable, doable projects. To get there you will need to combine, refine, assess, analyse, and then prioritise what you really have. It's a bit like finding the nuggets of gold in a pile of mud, and it's one of the most overlooked aspects of the creative process.
I believe we were all created to create.
I hope these tips help you and your workplace to be more creative in your every day, whether working remote or in-house.
This post was originally run on our Aquent Australia blog.