Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace

Having creative employees is not enough. You also have to have managers who can recognize that creativity and foster it and turn it into something -- to translate it into innovation.

When are people most creative? When they are given the opportunity to be creative. Some people are creative under pressure; some are creative only when the pressure is off. But in either case, you need the time and freedom to be creative.

Google gives employees Fridays to work on personally interesting projects. If you think you cannot afford to give a full day every week to letting employees "goof off," let me ask you one simple question: are you as profitable as Google? If not, perhaps some lessons could be learned.

Businesses today need to be creative and innovate more than perhaps ever before. The world is moving faster and faster. And that means you need more creative people. Those creative people may already be in your company. But perhaps you need to think more creatively about who you hire. Consider hiring more creative people -- people in the arts, in philosophy, in the humanities. Oftentimes these people will have ideas they have no idea how to implement. Yet, you will have people there who are fully capable of implementing their ideas, but rarely are all that creative on their own. These are the people you need to pair up.

Which gets us back to the importance of having good managers, who can recognize when two or more employees need to get together and work on something. Your managers need to be people-connectors. They need to see the potential inherent in an idea, in two people getting together to create and innovate. It's not about egos -- it's about benefitting the company first and foremost. Those are the kinds of managers you need.

With an environment of creativity and innovation, your company will continue to grow and be healthy. But you have to create that environment. You have to take the risk of making it.

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