If you haven’t realized it creativity doesn’t just happen… you have to establish an environment where creativity can grow. We all have a creative spark but sometimes we can douse our own flames. As entrepreneurs and as leaders it is our role to see the spark in others, encourage its ignition, and champion it’s growth. Although new ideas are fragile creations, the right environment can make people develop and cultivate innovation. By making sure that your staff has the freedom and incentive to be creative is a fantastic way to achieve creativity.
“Developing a corporate culture that both fosters and rewards creativity…is critical because companies must be able to churn out innovations at a fast pace since technology has shortened product life cycles,” Geoff Yang Entrepreneur and venture capitalist
Contrary to popular belief the creative process is not a free flowing activity, it actually has 7 steps:
1. Preparation This means getting your mind ready for the challenge and it can anything from a college education, to reading books, blogs and magazines.
2. Investigation To create new ideas and concepts in any field you must first study the problem, situation, or decision at hand. Make careful observations and identify the problem you want to solve.
3. Transformation Try to look for differences and similarities in the information you collected in the investigation phase.
4. Incubation Incubation happens when you are away from the problem, usually engaging in some other activity, to take your mind off the problem.
5. Illumination That point during the incubation phase when you have that spontaneous breakthrough.
6. Verification Validating an idea as realistic and useful takes steps like conducting experiments, running simulations, test marketing, small scale pilot programs, and building prototypes. Basically anything you can do to verify that the new idea will work, and is practical to implement.
7. Implementation Here is where you will transform your idea into reality. What sets you apart from other creative types is that you will put your idea into action because you have followed the steps.
You can stimulate your own creativity and encourage it in others:
- Include creativity as a core company value
- Embrace diversity
- Expect creativity
- Expect and tolerate failure create an organizational structure that feeds creativity
- Encourage curiosity
- Occasionally create a change of scenery
- See problems as opportunities
- Provide creativity training
- Provide support
- Develop a procedure for capturing ideas
- Interact with customers
- look for uses of your product or service in other markets
- reward creativity
Stimulate your Creativity
- Allow yourself to be creative
- Stimulate your mind through new activities
- Borrow ideas from companies in other industries
- See the creative power of mistakes
- Notice what is missing then ask “is there another way to do this?”
- Keep a pocket size note book for ideas
- Listen to other people
- Listen to customers
- Talk to a child
- Do something ordinary in an unusual way
- Keep some toys in your office
- Do not throw away seemingly bad ideas
- Read books on stimulating
- Attend a creativity workshop
- Take some time off
- Be persistent