The Importance of Creativity in Business (Plus Benefits)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated December 22, 2022
Published March 15, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Promoting creativity in the workplace can help businesses develop unique and innovative solutions and offerings. Creative team members can help differentiate a company from its competitors and attract new customers. Understanding its importance can help organizations attract creative candidates to develop innovative products and marketing materials.
In this article, we discuss creativity in the workplace and why it's important, and we provide strategies for improving creativity in your own office.
What is creativity in the workplace?
Creativity in the workplace is an ability individuals possess that allows them to develop new and imaginative ideas regarding processes, products or materials. Businesses can use creativity in the workplace to create innovative solutions or more positive and collaborative work environments. The creative process also involves asking questions or looking at problems from diverse perspectives. These qualities can help promote more productive brainstorming and collaboration across teams.
Why is creativity important in business?
Encouraging creativity in the workplace can help boost business success. Creative thinking allows individuals to develop new or innovative ideas and challenge norms or old ways of thinking. These behaviors can help businesses create products, services and other offerings that differentiate themselves from their competitors and address consumers' demands in new ways.
It's important for companies to assess new situations quickly and develop strategies to navigate them to handle changing markets and consumer trends. With creativity, businesses can meet existing challenges and think ahead. By implementing regular brainstorming or creative-thinking processes, people can continue to develop innovative ideas that meet their markets' current and future priorities and preferences.
What are the benefits of creative thinking in business?
Creativity serves an essential role in businesses. Here are some examples of the other benefits that creative thinking can offer an organization:
Identifies new opportunities
Creative-thinking techniques challenge individuals' current ways of thinking about or handling tasks. When they use their creativity to consider alternative strategies or approaches, it can provide them with unexpected opportunities and solutions. Just because they haven't done something before doesn't mean they can't do it.
Embraces challenges or risks
An essential component of creative thinking is the willingness to experiment. Experimentation allows individuals to try new ideas to determine whether they work or present a feasible solution without the fear of making a mistake. Reducing the fear of failure can help the business promote reasonable risk-taking and taking on challenges.
Related: 16 Techniques for Creativity
Innovation represents the process of introducing and using new ideas or concepts. Creative thinking enables individuals to look at things from all different perspectives to create something new. Companies that promote innovation internally and externally can generate excitement for their offerings and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Promotes cognitive development
Creative thinking exercises may incorporate fun or exciting activities that stimulate individuals' minds and promote cognitive development. Creativity also encourages individuals to look for ideas in unique ways, motivating them to pay attention to details or patterns within a process, strategy or product. Making these observations can help individuals gain inspiration for new ideas or identify potential areas of improvement.
Effective collaboration requires team members and leaders to accept and listen to one another. Because creative thinking promotes open-mindedness and flexibility, individuals who use this skill may show more willingness to try others' ideas. It may also help reduce judgment when hearing those ideas. The resulting brainstorming may cause higher quality and quantities of ideas to pursue.
Ways to increase creativity in the workplace
There are several strategies you can use to encourage and increase creativity in the workplace. You can incorporate the following tips to promote this effort:
Creativity may inspire individuals to try new things. This practice requires having an open mind and reserving judgments when listening to ideas from colleagues or tea members. One way to promote open-mindedness is to borrow the "Yes, and" technique, which is common for improv theater groups to use.
Rather than responding to an idea by discussing its faults or rejecting it outright, this method allows the group to accept and build on it. Eliminating the use of "no" allows all ideas to be heard. When people know their team members aren't going to reject their ideas, it can make them more willing to share their opinions.
Related: 10 Steps To Become More Open-Minded
A workforce of diverse perspectives, backgrounds and skills can develop a more creative business. Think about these factors when hiring people or creating teams. You can also promote diversity by having different departments work with one another. When diverse groups or individuals collaborate, it enables everyone to look at a situation from different viewpoints. They may see something they otherwise might not have. Changing their perspectives can help them develop more innovative and creative solutions.
Consider flexible work arrangements
When possible, you can implement flexible working arrangements to give people more freedom. Work-from-home opportunities can make people feel more comfortable, helping reduce stress and enhance productivity. It may also give them more freedom than sitting at their desk in the office, which they can use to be more active and create new ideas. Allowing team members to choose their hours may also encourage creativity because it enables them to work when they feel most productive or inspired, rather than having to follow a strict timeline.
Host brainstorming sessions
You can host regular brainstorming sessions to generate ideas for your business. These meetings promote collaboration and encourage participants to share and discuss their ideas through various games or techniques. When preparing these sessions, choose participants with different skills and perspectives to support creative thinking. It's also important to appoint a leader who can set the ground rules for the activities and keep all discussions on track. This leader also helps ensure the group maintains a respectful environment where everyone listens to each other's ideas.
Allow people to recharge
Day-to-day tasks and creative efforts can take up significant energy. To keep your workforce energized, allow them to take time for themselves to recharge. Besides encouraging team members to take paid time off as needed, you can promote breaks during the workday. For example, some companies develop wellness programs to teach people the importance of preserving their mental and physical health and methods of doing it.
Taking a break during work can be as simple as a brief walk, spending time outside or performing five-minute meditation exercises. You also can promote taking breaks by setting up calm areas inside the office for people to relax. Similarly, if you have outdoor space, you may want to create nice areas where people can spend time, such as for meetings or lunches.
Fear of failure can hinder creativity, and people may do things the way they're used to in an effort to avoid the risk of failing. Risks can lead to great successes and innovations, though. When a business encourages risk and experimentation, people may feel more freedom to use their creativity. When a plan or project doesn't work out, collaborate with your colleagues and use it as a learning opportunity. Celebrate the good aspects of the attempt and discuss how you can avoid its mistakes and improve your future efforts.
You can encourage creativity within your organization by rewarding individuals who use this skill. Trying new things can be difficult, so providing an incentive may make people more willing to share and experiment with innovative ideas. These rewards also demonstrate that the organization values creative thinking and actions. Establishing this value can demonstrate its importance within the company culture and promote creative approaches during work.
When a team member or colleague raises a new idea, managers can reward their efforts by encouraging them to take action on it or try it themselves. Some employers even give out awards to individuals for their creativity. They may also reward teams who work on projects that test new concepts by giving them a monetary bonus.
Examples of creativity in business
Here are some examples to help you understand how creativity can benefit a business:
Creativity in marketing
Businesses have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate creativity in their marketing practices, such as experiential marketing. For example, a local pottery studio could use traditional marketing methods, such as buying advertisements in a local newspaper or sending flyers through the mail. However, they may demonstrate creativity by hosting a free workshop for interested individuals to come into the shop and try making pottery themselves.
This workshop allows these participants to learn more about the shop and see whether they like the experience enough to purchase classes. A hands-on experience can feel more engaging than reading an ad or flyer. By using this creative marketing technique, the shop brings in potential customers and brings attention to itself.
Creativity in problem-solving
Businesses can also use various creativity exercises to solve problems at work. For example, they may use the SCAMPER technique to assess a product or service and devise ways to improve it or build something new. By utilizing a creative-thinking exercise, you enable project teams to look at existing ideas from new angles or perspectives. Creative-thinking exercises promote judgment-free zones, and this freedom can help your project teams use their creativity to develop more innovative ideas. You can use the following as guidelines for utilizing the SCAMPER technique:
Substitute: What can I substitute or replace to improve this product or service?
Combine: How can I combine this product/service with something else to increase efficiency?
Adapt: How can I adapt this product/service to reach another market?
Modify: Can I modify this product/service by adding features or streamlining it?
Put to another use: How else can people use this product/service?
Eliminate: What can I remove from this product/service or how can I reduce the costs associated with it?
Reverse/rearrange: Can I rearrange anything about this product/service to improve it?
Creativity in sales
Sales represent another area where businesses can benefit from creativity. A traditional sales model may use a one-size-fits-all approach, allowing customers or clients to choose from a set number of options. For example, a software company may offer three tiers of pricing. However, salespeople can demonstrate creativity by taking a more empathetic and personalized approach.
If customers push back on the pricing available, staff members can get creative by devising solutions that better fit their needs. For example, they may offer a discount if the client allows a certain number of people to use the software. This approach provides a customer-friendly experience that can serve everyone's interests.
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