We're always striving to keep innovation and creativity at the top of our priority list. And while innovation and creativity do qualify as buzzwords, the truth is sometimes simple and straightforward. Buzzwords or not, innovation and creativity are simply the best words to describe two powerful ways to grow as a business.
Why it's important to be innovative and creative
Innovation and creativity gained their buzzword status with good reason. Innovating is the act of creating something new. To be innovative means we never stop questioning our current methods and we always keep searching for new and better ways to get things done. Creativity is similar, with a slightly different flair. It means we embrace the act of creating new ideas, usually born in our imaginations. So innovation and creativity are complementary strengths. Innovation looks for better ways to perform preexisting tasks, and creativity uses our imagination to dream up completely new ideas.
While this sounds good and all, how exactly do innovation and creativity translate into hard business facts?
Good things come from being innovative
Innovation is often accredited for a positive increase in efficiency, productivity, quality, competitiveness, and market share — and that's just the beginning. There is a lot ROI packed into that one sentence. Who doesn't want that?
Creativity is desirable because it has ROI
People desire creativity because it gets results. Back in 2010, IBM performed a poll where about 60% of CEOs named creativity as the leadership quality they valued most in employees, beating out integrity and global thinking. And, of course, that number's still growing.
More job growth, less job loss
Just as business owners and leaders like when employees are more creative, employees like when their company has a culture to support and encourage that type of work environment. That means more people staying (and enjoying), and fewer people leaving.
How to create an environment ripe for innovation
While every person contains the innate ability for innovation and creativity, sometimes it takes the right environment to pull it out. As a business seeking growth, it's critical to look for new ways to create an environment that brings out the best potential of each employee. In order to do this, there are a few tips to remember.
Make a goal worth fighting for
Teams should have the freedom to work hard, get creative, and push the boundaries, so it's important to find projects that get your team geeked. Here at Maestro, that finding projects that range from creating learning games for Microsoft to 3D lab simulations for safety training and even creating our own software for sales reps. Our various teams allow us to become proficient in many different types of projects, so we always looking for a new challenge.
Encouraging innovation and creativity means managers and team members (but especially managers) need to "encourage risk and expect failures." Sometimes an innovative and creative idea doesn't work out, and that needs to be OK.
Constant communication is the key to creating a safe environment for feedback. This means that when a team is actively swapping ideas and sharing what they know, it's an open game for anyone to jump in and share their ideas.
Get to work
Brainstorming can be too much of a good thing. It's worth it to generate ideas and think outside of the box, but often times brainstorming never leads to an actual project or outcome. Leave time for brainstorming, but give it a limit and get to the real stuff!
Live it out at every level
Creativity and innovation — they can be uncomfortable for leadership since both qualities question the status quo and look for new and better ways to get things done (which, inevitably, leads to change). However, progress and growth come from the uncomfortable, and it's critical for leadership to not only welcome creativity but demonstrate it, as well. Here at Maestro, we actively promote innovation and creativity at every level within every team. We focus on checking out all the off-the-wall, out-of-the-box ideas. We aren't just talking about keeping innovation and creativity at the top of our priority list — we do it every day.
How do you keep innovation and creativity alive and well in your organization? Keep looking for new ways to make those qualities actionable in your workflow, organizational structure, and company environment. Constantly questioning established structures might get uncomfortable at times, but it will lead to amazing ROI and increased growth.
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