Nurturing creativity in an ROI-Focussed, cubicle-ridden environment ain’t easy. Here’s how to get your team’s juices flowing.

Rumpelstiltskin’s managerial style definitely wouldn’t cut it in today’s business world. But his success in getting his staff to spin straw into gold on demand would be the envy of all. Creativity and innovation are vital in today’s world. Everyone agrees that the “GOLD” of today is “innovative distinctiveness”. What is not as well understood is how to produce this “innovative distinctiveness” treasure day in and day out.

Here are a few gems to get your team’s juices flowing.

No one knows where innovative thinking comes from. A lot of times, it comes from nowhere. So you need to set up times when your people actually can think up things from out of nowhere. For years at Scenario Design and still today at LeapZone, we have this “no interruption ” time called Bubble Time™. At Scenario, we had “Production Bubble Time™” to really get things done efficiently…and also had “Cre8ive Bubble Time™” to gather everyone to think up our best ideas, solutions and innovations. When I say everyone, I mean everyone. From the janitor to the CEO. We also sometimes went to borrow people from other offices around the building to have more head power. It is amazing the solutions that were discovered by leveraging our team regularly.

Encourage yourself and your team to loosen up, de-compress. Great ideas are much harder to find if you are spread thin, overworked and overwhelmed. To foster creativity, one needs a well balanced “work/life” and mega companies are now recognizing it…so much so that the team at Pfizer became the first worldwide to ban all e-mails and voice mails on weekends and after 6:00 p.m. on week days as well as no meetings are scheduled past 4:30 p.m. The results of having this mandatory 12-hour break has translated into not only a higher-quality flow of ideas, but also a huge morale boost. At Scenario Design, we had Fridays off. A 4 day week was one of the ways to nurture our teams cre8ive juices…

Encourage people to think as big as they possibly can. Blue Sky every idea & concept as if budgets were no object and see what happens. It’s much easier to go nuts and find a great possible solution that has to be tamed down to fit a more realistic budget than it is to rack your brain to find a solution to fit a limited budget. It’s amazing what’s possible when you Blue Sky It.

Contributing to a brainstorm can be very intimidating for some. To ensure that everyone is not too inhibited to freely voice their thoughts, we tell people: “Check your egos at the door because the real hero is the idea”. The most important thing in any brainstorm session is to create a safe and supportive environment as there are NO BAD IDEAS. Most brilliant ideas actually often come from an “under the radar” idea or comment. So, have fun leaving your EGOs behind.

What is your cre8ive process?
What do you do to foster creativity?
In what ways do you leverage your team?

Don’t hesitate to share your answers via comments to get highlighted and promoted on our Blog.

*Article inspired by Terry Poulton from Strategy Magazine.

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