6 Ways to Spark Workspace Creativity
Infusing creativity and innovation into the work culture is one of the most effective ways to battle the monotony and lead to meaningful employee contribution.
Often, the places where you would least expect to find creativity is where it is most needed. Most organisations make sporadic attempts at creative solutions and are unable to live up to their commitment to foster innovation. Also, introducing change into a time-tested structure can be a great challenge. Sustaining it can be an even greater challenge. Out of the box solutions, especially in goal-setting, with follow-up action can bring freshness into high-pressure jobs.
Here are some ways you can make your work creative in a sustainable way that can foster imagination, and solve problems.
1. Interesting stimuli to spark creativity
Some organisations are putting careful thought into designing the office space in ways to stimulate creativity. For instance, a “thinking corner” where colleagues can step out of their desks to ideate, is a good solution. Another is co-working spaces that offer a change of environment. Also, having a bright room with more sunlight can do wonders to the energy.
However, not every company has the budget to overhaul their environment. There can be some simple ways to do it. So, instead, one can jazz up the office with plants, bright paintings, lounge furniture, and brighter colours. Having a music room or a jukebox can also be a great idea. These elements can help colleagues feel more relaxed and will lead to more meaningful results.
2. Working with different teams
Sometimes, mixing it up and working with new teams can throw up very different working solutions. Colleagues who can work together also become a closer unit. If the office structure doesn’t allow for it, managers can introduce special projects to ensure that different colleagues can come together and ideas will also grow. This will give colleagues a sense of belonging to the organisation.
Another good way to get different teams to work together is to make employees work on extra circular projects – annual conference, team outing, an impromptu team get together, game days, etc. Research has proved that employees have shown a marked improvement in problem-solving on live projects when they have participated in more than one collaborative internal project.
However, asking employees to be innovative and creative means letting ideas flow freely, all of which may not be relevant. It is therefore essential for leaders to make boundaries around creativity clear.
3. Knowledge platforms
An open source knowledge platform is a great way to offer cross team and peer-to-peer learning. If a few colleagues have attended a workshop that everybody couldn’t attend, it will benefit the whole company if they share their learning with peers. Regularly organising motivational talks and creativity workshops also help. Keeping up to date, not only with industry news but also news about fields by sharing links, articles with colleagues will expand the horizon and is a great way to keep everyone on point.
Many companies today are building innovative internal platforms for employees to flaunt their creativity. Talent shows, art exhibitions, craft workshops, jam sessions, stand-up comedy gives employees a window to tap into their creative self. It not only boosts their self-confidence but also makes them feel valued for their abilities outside of work. Of course, the learning kind of initiatives is preferred, however, platforms that enable employees to be creative automatically raise their ability and confidence to apply creativity to other areas of work.
4. Ease of doing business
Just like a company would want the government to put smoother policies in place, enabling ease of doing business, likewise, companies should strive to reduce the time spent on processes and red tape and introduce more open ways of working. If your team members are able to work without supervision, make decisions, lead the project forward with minimal glitches; your team is ready to work autonomously. Such a team will be easily demotivated if internal processes limit them rather than enable them to work smoothly. For instance, the marketing manager of a brand launches a promo code, the team is all out to push sales, however, and the backend system has not activated the code due to a pending email approval. Can you imagine the impact such a delay can cause? After all quick implementation of ideas is also a marker of success.
Regularly revisit the company processes, optimise them from time-to-time to ensure that they empower employees to go about their work with ease. Also simply modifying the process is not enough; every employee must be re-inducted in the process so that the transition itself does not become another setback.
5. Encourage bottom-up decision making
Taking employees’ feedback seriously can go a long way. As you move up in the hierarchy it may be possible that you are unable to keep a grip on everyday customer experience. Some business owners have in the past made it a practice to spend one day in a month actually performing a client interface role to stay updated with real-time customer feedback. But not all of us can commit to it. That’s where the employees play a critical role. Employees can offer customer-oriented, on-ground solutions that can help cut costs.
While you bring years of experience to the table, the employees bring real-time inputs. Encouraging feedback and inputs from the employee, seeking solutions from them, in other words, encouraging bottom-up decision making makes the employees feel that you trust them and value their opinions. It will go a long way in improving your employee engagement scores, retention scores and most importantly, seamlessly foster problem-solving skills. Have said this, one of the biggest reasons that can hold a colleague back is to come up with a great plan and not be encouraged. Aim to strike a fine balance between accepting decisions and providing a just reason for rejecting decisions.
6. Get out of the office, break the monotony
And lastly, office picnics, regular fun outings, off-sites, team games that encourage joint problem solving, these are all tried and tested ways to motivate the teams, press the reset button, and come up with innovative ideas. When time permits, take the discussion outside the office. Once in a while having a brainstorming session away from work brings with it its own spark of creativity.
Fostering a creative culture and being consistent with it takes time. Most team heads are expected to lead with innovative solutions in the workplace. However, by cultivating the creative abilities of your team, you can produce varied and sustainable solutions for the company.
At Yellow Spark, we specialise in developing plans for effective resource management and streamlining systems & process to create an enabling work environment for your employees. You can write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org for customised modules and workshops for your organisation.
Author Profile: Deepam Yogi is an adventurer at heart, socially conscious in her gut and professionally a strategic consultant. She co-founded Yellow Spark to support organisations to build workplaces that people love being a part of. Deepam describes herself as a shy yet opinionated writer, and firmly believes that most answers to complex issues lie in simple communication.