Innovation is essential for success in today’s marketplace. And creativity is a key ingredient of innovation. A creative workplace using innovative ways of working will set you (and your company) up for success. It’s time to use innovative ideas in work.
Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, explains:
“The economic future of an organization depends on its ability to create wealth by fostering innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.” Yes, creativity is really that important. In fact, 94% of hiring managers look for creativity as one of the most important candidate attributes.
Even the most traditional and staid business leaders must now recognize the importance of creativity in work. Harvard Business Review has articulated the growing understanding of creativity and innovation. Researchers explained how an organization can harness these powers for growth.
The most meaningful step you can take to be more successful is to grow your creativity. It will help you contribute innovative ideas in work.
Innovative Ideas to Try at Work
Creativity never has limits. That’s why when you put on (and keep on) your creative hat, you will be an endless source of innovation.
Using creative and innovative ideas will better engage the whole team. It encourages them to collaborate and give their all. Here are just a selection of fantastic innovative ideas in work:
1. Step (and Think) Outside the Box
Never assume. Assumptions are limitations and they cut off opportunities. When you assume, you cannot think creatively. And you won’t come up with innovative ways of working.
You probably assume much more than you realize. Think about all the things you do during the day almost on auto-pilot. Examine how you do these tasks, and think about ways you could do them differently.
I have found innovative ways to do many mundane tasks in the daily routine. Try it out for yourself and see what innovative workplace practices you come up with.
2. Find New Sources of Inspiration
Finding ways to keep yourself inspired will keep your creativity fueled. When there are inspirational things around you, you have the vision and confidence for innovation.
Create a display of inspirational things at work. You could make a personal one just for you, or something for the entire team. If you don’t have enough physical space, consider Pinterest.
3. Practice Mindfulness
The fast pace of life can make creativity difficult, getting in the way of innovation. Find ways to practice mindfulness every day. One way to do this is to go for daily walks and mindfully notice all the little things around you.
As you become more mindful and quiet your mind, you will find it easier to be creative.
4. Visualize Your Ideas
Consciously visualize your ideas and take steps to bring them fruition. If it’s the kind of thing you can draw or represent with a diagram, do so. It will help your teammates understand your vision. It will also help with collaboration.
5. Start Small
Look for ways to innovate your work even in the smallest tasks. Remember, all the little things accumulate and lead to greater benefits. Also, innovating how you do small things will give you practice and expertise you can apply to larger projects.
6. Be More Open-Minded
Immediately assuming an unconventional idea cannot work is a limit on your innovation. After all, innovation is doing things in new ways that haven’t been tried before. Instead of dismissing your idea, think about what you need to do to make it work.
7. Do the Right Kind of Brainstorming
You need quantity to get to quality. This is where brainstorming comes in. Free yourself and your team from fear as you brainstorm, letting everyone come up with all the ideas they can. Let yourself come up with even the craziest ideas. This will break through barriers and help you arrive at innovation.
8. Separate Divergent and Convergent Thinking
Divergent thinking is when you come up with new ideas. This is the kind of thinking you need to use when brainstorming. Don’t worry about whether ideas are good or not. Just come up with as many as you can. Convergent thinking is the thinking you do when you evaluate ideas.
If you let your convergent thinking take over during what should be the divergent thinking process of brainstorming, you stomp out the flickering flame of creative ideas. Keep divergent thinking and convergent thinking separate processes.
9. Engage Your System 2 Thinking
System 1 thinking consists of our usual, day-to-day thought processes. System 2 thinking, on the other hand, is when you push yourself further. Sometimes the best way to engage your system 2 thinking is to ask surprising questions. For example, you could ask, “How would kids in kindergarten solve this problem?” You will be amazed at all the simple yet potentially effective creative solutions you’ll come up with.
10. Use Your Sense of Humor
Humor is a giant part of creativity. Choose to laugh and see the funny side of things. When you laugh and engage others in joviality, you stimulate creativity. Seeing humorous perspectives on all kinds of situations helps you see the other side of problems.
Don’t be afraid of people thinking you’re crazy! New and creative ideas often seem a bit strange at first. Be open and free-spirited.
11. Apply Creativity to Everyday Problem-Solving
Even the most mundane problems are more quickly and effectively solved when you use creativity. Practice by finding some everyday problems in your workplace and use your creativity to come up with solutions.
12. Do Stand-Up Meetings
If you find the team is stagnating a bit with traditional sit-down meetings, see if you can try stand-up meetings. When you stand up, you have a different kind of energy.
When you stand up, you have more energy and momentum. Everyone will be more eager to take part and come up with ideas. Standing up makes you feel more effective and assertive, and you will find it easier to share what you think.
13. Find New Methods
A fantastic way of encouraging creativity is to ban using something that everyone looks to as a crutch. When you do this, people are forced to think of new and creative ways of handling a task.
You can try banning certain communication tools, banning your usual target market, and banning certain resources.
14. Think About Your Heroes
When you have trouble solving a problem or completing a task, think about how your heroes would do it. What innovative ideas in work would they use? Make a list of some of your most creative heroes. These don’t have to be run-of-the-mill icons. Just choose people or figures (they can be fictional) that model creativity.
15. Use Creativity to Seize Opportunity
Your creativity is a tool for seizing opportunities that other people probably don’t notice. We are usually surrounded with opportunities but just cannot see them.
Use your creativity to not only see hidden opportunities but to find ways to seize them.
16. Be Persistent in Your Creativity
When you try to be creative, you will probably get some push back from others. This is especially true if your colleagues aren’t used to that kind of approach.
But keep on pushing. They will eventually see how much your creativity helps with your problem-solving and seeing opportunities. When this happens, they will be encouraged to take a similar innovative approach. This will put you in a leadership position.
17. Remember Idea Incubation
You and your team need to spend time incubating ideas. It’s great to share a creative idea with them and then ask them to think about it over the next couple of days. Then they can come back with their own spin and extensions, arriving at new innovative ideas in work.
18. See Failure in a New Way
One of the best tips for boosting confidence (both your own and your team’s) is to take a new perspective on failure. As human beings, we all fail from time to time. What we do have complete control over, however, is how we react to it. Beating yourself up isn’t going to help. Failure is a learning opportunity.
See failure as part of the creative process, which it really is. As you try different approaches to solving a problem, you will become more effective in the creative problem-solving process overall.
19. Use Creative Rewards
Reward yourself and your team for their performance in creative and innovative ways. Also call attention to creativity, showing everyone that it’s a way to step up their performance. Encourage collaboration by getting input from the team on what kinds of creative rewards they would like best.
We’re All Creative at Heart
All too many of us fall for the self-defeating belief that we’re just not creative people. That’s not true! You don’t have to be in a traditionally creative profession or have artistic hobbies to be innovative and creative in the workplace.
Coming up with innovative ideas in work is as simple and easy as opening your mind and having confidence. Bring in plenty of collaboration, as well. It’s time to show the creativity you have always had. Let yourself (and your ideas) shine in the workplace.