As a leader, it’s up to you to set your team up for success. A question worth asking: Is your environment designed for innovative thinking or stifling creativity?
If your workspace feels a little stale, it may be time to reevaluate how you approach new projects. Here are five ways leaders can cultivate a creative culture and spark fresh ideas.
Empower team members to express new ideas by welcoming diversity of thought and background. This practice starts at the top. Leaders must be vulnerable themselves to ensure others feel safe and included.
A few ways to foster open, respectful communication:
Before you begin a meeting or any kind of discussion that requires creative thinking, let everyone know the “why.” You don’t have to figure out every detail, but the team should have an idea of the general direction and desired end results.
Ahead of time, send out an overview of the project that includes the intended outcome. Make sure everyone feels comfortable asking questions and has the resources they need to get started.
Everyone processes and communicates information differently. You may need to experiment to find out what approach works best for your team and highlights their individual strengths.
Would it help to break a session up into multiple days? What visuals could enhance a creative discussion? Keep in mind some people prefer to process ideas on their own and come back later while others like to bounce ideas off other people first. Allow room for all approaches.
Leaders should continually ask themselves, “Are you keeping the format open enough to be inclusive?”
A key ingredient of a thriving creative culture is flexibility. Encourage your team to go in new directions while keeping them focused on the end goal. You might be surprised where you end up.
Being flexible also means pivoting if a promising idea needs to be adjusted due to client feedback or new information. View it as a creative challenge to incorporate the feedback without losing what made the idea great in the first place.
Don’t settle for the first good idea. Try rapid-fire exercises to see what else might arise.
Furthermore, challenge your team to take seemingly weak ideas and turn them on their side to find different ways to apply them.
“The most original solutions come from brainstorms that have tight objectives but loose constraints,” says Markstein Chief Creative Officer Chris Hoke.
Guiding your team in a new direction can be challenging, but it can lead to exciting places. We hope you’ll give a few of these keys a try, and if you still need inspiration, Markstein is here to unlock new opportunities for you.