The Importance of Creativity in Business

By Indeed Editorial Team

March 15, 2021

Creativity can serve an essential role for businesses within any industry. Encouraging creativity in the workplace can help businesses develop unique and innovative solutions and offerings. This ability can help differentiate the company from its competitors and attract customers. In this article, we discuss the importance of creativity in businesses and offer tips to help increase creativity.

Related: Creativity in the Workplace: Characteristics and Examples

What is creativity in the workplace?

Creativity represents the ability to develop new or imaginative ideas and turn them into a reality. Businesses can use creativity in the workplace to create innovative solutions or more positive and collaborative work environments. Creativity promotes employees to think outside of the norm and experiment. Beyond experimentation, the creative process also involves asking questions or looking at problems from diverse perspectives. These qualities can help promote more productive brainstorming and teamwork behaviors.

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.

Today's businesses also often encounter constantly changing environments. As a result, professionals need to assess new situations quickly and develop strategies to navigate them. With creativity, businesses can not only meet the existing challenges but also think ahead. By implementing regular brainstorming or creative-thinking processes, these professionals can continue coming up with new, improved or exciting ideas that meet their markets' current and future needs.

Related: How To Be More Creative: Why It's Important and Steps To Boost Creativity

What are the benefits of creative thinking in business?

As mentioned, creativity serves an essential role for 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 doing things. When they look beyond what already exists, it can open their minds to new or unexpected opportunities. Just because they have not done something before does not mean they cannot do it. They may ask the questions "Why?" or "Why not?" to identify such opportunities.

  • 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. In this process, they do not have to worry if an idea fails. Reducing fear of failure can help the business promote reasonable risk-taking and taking on challenges.

  • Promotes innovation: Innovation represents the process of introducing and utilizing new ideas or concepts. Creative thinking enables individuals to look at things from all different angles to create something new. Companies that promote innovation internally and externally can generate excitement for their offerings and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

  • Stimulates the mind: Creative thinking exercises often incorporate fun or exciting activities that stimulate different areas of the mind than day-to-day tasks do. Creativity also encourages individuals to look for ideas in everything, making them pay attention to seemingly small details or patterns. Making these observations serves as a way to gain inspiration for new ideas.

  • Improves collaboration: 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 result in 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:

Encourage open-mindedness

Creativity often represents trying new things. This practice requires having an open mind and reserving judgments when listening to ideas from colleagues or employees. One way to promote open-mindedness is to borrow the "Yes, and" technique used by improv theater groups. 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 they will not face rejection, it can make them more willing to share their ideas—no matter how outrageous they may seem.

Promote diversity

A workforce made up of diverse perspectives, backgrounds and skills can develop a more creative business. Think about these factors when hiring employees 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 angles. They may see something they would not have thought of otherwise. 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 employees more freedom. Work from home opportunities can make employees 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 play around with ideas. Allowing employees to choose their hours may also encourage creativity, as it enables them to work when they feel most productive or inspired rather than 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. You also need to appoint a leader who can set the ground rules for the activities and keep all discussions on track. This leader also helps ensure that the group maintains a respectful environment where everyone is heard.

Related: How To Run an Effective Brainstorming Session

Allow employees 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 employees to take paid time off as needed (and within company guidelines), you can promote breaks during the workday. For example, some companies develop wellness programs to teach employees 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 5-minute meditation exercises. You can also promote taking breaks by setting up calm areas inside the office for employees to relax. Similarly, if you have outdoor space you may want to create nice areas where employees can spend time, such as for meetings or lunches.

Embrace failure

Fear of failure can hinder creativity. These individuals continue doing things as they have always been done to avoid the risk of failing. While no business wants to fail, risks can also lead to great successes and innovations. When a business encourages risk and experimentation, employees may feel more freedom to use their creativity. When a plan or project does not 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.

Reward employees' creativity

You can encourage creativity within your organization by rewarding individuals who utilize this skill. Trying new things can be difficult, so providing an incentive may make employees 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 an employee or colleague raises a new idea, you can reward their efforts by encouraging them to take action on it or trying it out yourself. 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.

Related: 5 Steps for Increasing Creativity in the Workplace

Examples

As mentioned, creativity can offer numerous benefits for businesses. You can use the following examples as guidance:

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.

Related: What Is Experiential Marketing? (With Examples)

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, so all ideas are welcomed. 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/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?

Related: 18 Creativity Exercises To Improve Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving at Work

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, sales professionals can demonstrate creativity by taking a more empathetic and personalized approach.

If customers push back on the pricing available, these professionals 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 employees to utilize the software. This approach provides a more customer-friendly experience that serves everyone's interests.

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