Creativity and Innovation, Sparking The Artist Within

Creativity and innovation are two parts to the innovation management puzzle. Creativity is about generating or coming up with ideas, while innovation is about converting those ideas into something valuable like creating a successful business.

You could say that innovation is creativity multiplied by action. Creativity is the idea while innovation is the result of the actions taken to bring an idea to life. Without creativity, you cannot have innovation. This is why creativity and innovation must go together.

How to Spark Creativity and Innovation in Your Organization

Getting your entire organization on board with creativity and innovation is one of the hardest things to do within many organizations. It is even harder when your organization is quite large.

When you have a lot of locations and many employees, it can be costly to get them all to come together and participate in the process of creativity and innovation. Here are some ideas that will help you spark innovation in your organization.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep”.  – Scott Adams, author, and cartoonist.

1) Introduce a Creative and Innovative Culture 

You have to make it known to your organization that creativity is welcomed at all times. Keep an open door policy for ideas.

2) Introduce a Creative Environment 

A good way to do this is to change the environment of the workplace and stress the importance of creativity.

Make sure that everyone in your organization knows that you want to hear their ideas and why they should be implemented. If they don’t know that creativity and innovation will help your company stay competitive, they won’t help you because adults have a need to know why.

3) Actively Crowdsource New Ideas 

Put an idea management system in place and consistently ask for new ideas to solve problems or improve existing products.

Use a database driven system like idea management software to easily gather and evaluate ideas.

4) Change The Status Quo 

Ask your people for alternative ways of doing things. Encourage this behavior and make it a part of your company’s culture.

5) Reward Creativity

Rewarding creativity in the workplace is a good way to encourage it. You can’t give everyone an iPhone for submitting their ideas but you can very well do something small but noticeable for it.

You can buy lunch for your department once a week or create an award system.

6) Don’t be Afraid of Mistakes (Failure) 

Don’t be afraid of mistakes when they happen. Don’t penalize people for bad ideas or ideas that did not work out. Instead, thank them for their contribution and tell them that you cannot wait to hear their next idea.

7) Take Action 

Take action on the good ideas. Ideas that are worthwhile need to be acted upon because it shows your organization that you take their efforts seriously. It will also boost employee morale within your organization.

Characteristics of Creative and Innovative People

Stanford professor Tina Seelig Painstakingly wrote about the characteristics of creative people in her book, titled “Innovation Engine”.

She researched what made good ideas spring forward and determined that there were six main characteristics of creative people.

Here are the characteristics that Professor Painstakingly found were absolutely essential in people to get creative.

They Use Their Imagination 

Creative people use their imaginations to their advantage. They are highly imaginative people and love looking at problems from all angles. Essentially they are able to frame and reframe problems.

They are also able to combine and connect ideas to make them clever or interesting. Creative people know how to challenge assumptions by taking things and making them into what you may not expect.

A great example of sparking imagination is with riddles. Riddles are great for improving comprehension and creativity. Here is a riddle that will get you going.

I soar without wings, I see without eyes. I’ve traveled the universe to and from. I’ve conquered the world, yet I’ve never been anywhere but home.

What am I?

Answer: I’m your imagination!

They Keep Learning 

Imagination becomes better with knowledge. The more you know, the more you have to work with. Knowledge is the toolbox for your creativity. For instance, if Mark Zuckerberg and his team did not know anything about coding software, they wouldn’t have been able to create Facebook.

They Have a Good Attitude 

Your attitude is half of the battle. Your attitude determines how long you can remain persistent and how you react when you feel stuck. You can start nurturing this attitude in your organization by seeing mistakes as an opportunity for improvement.

Think about Thomas A. Edison and how he failed many times (some believe it was ten thousand times) before he was able to successfully create the first long-lasting incandescent light bulb.

They Control Their Habitat 

Where you choose to work matters. It is easier to draw out your creativity when you are in a stimulating environment or an environment that welcomes creativity.

Things like unique pictures, colors, and posters help to create a stimulating environment.

Take a look at the below pictures, can you spot the difference? One of these pictures stimulates creativity while the other does not.

Keep the environment creative and learn from the people around you

They Use Resources 

You have to look at resources beyond money. Resources are the things or people that you can tap into for inspiration and ideas. For example, nature is an endless source of inspiration if we spend time observing it. The trees, birds, fish, mountains, and more can help you tap into your creativity.

They Maintain an Innovative Culture 

Creative people are able to keep an open mind to innovation. They do not see failure as a one-stop shop. To them, failure is part of innovation. You have to be comfortable with testing things that may not work. You can then improve what you created to try again. In some cases, you will have to start all over and that is ok too.

What Are You Doing To Be More Creative And Innovative?

Let us know of any tips to optimize creativity and innovation from both an individual and organizational level.Let us know of any tips to optimize creativity and innovation from both an individual and organizational level.