In today’s world, competition is fierce in the business world when it comes to innovation and thought leadership. Companies are constantly trying to “one-up” each other and come up with the best, biggest, newest idea out there in order to grab consumers’ attention. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut where you lack inspiration and the new ideas just aren’t flowing within your business. Do you want your workplace to pop with excitement? Your employees excited to come to work and buzzing with ideas? If your company has been lacking inspiration,you can come up with the next big thing by promoting creativity in the office with these five easy strategies.
Create an Environment Where Creativity can Thrive
Provide an attractive and comfortable environment where ideas are free to flow. Jazz up the walls with colorful art and thought-provoking quotes. Place plants and flowers in prominent places, or allow employees to sit near a window. Encourage employees to personalize their work spaces in order to give them something to look at besides the walls to their cubical. People think better when surrounded by items that make them feel good, and covering the office with colors, patterns, and images will help stimulate creativity. However, you’ll need to change up the office environment to continually provide inspiration. Change up the furniture arrangements, hang different pieces of art on the walls, or even change up paint colors. When your employees can see their world in a new light, it will spur the type of creativity you need from them.
Host Mini Think-Tank Sessions
Use outside-the-box brainstorming sessions to allow your employees to throw out ideas and build off of eachother’s ideas. In most cases, the first couple of ideas people come up with are the safe and obvious. Have them write down their two immediate impressions, put them aside, and then throw out any ideas except those to the group. These initial thoughts can always be revisited later. Record all ideas without comment or criticism. Even ideas that seem silly at first can be tweaked and re-vamped, and eventually turned into brilliant ideas. If you create an environment where your employees aren’t embarrassed about their opinions, or afraid to throw out a dumb idea, these sessions can be very fruitful.
Create an “Idea Station”
When you aren’t having brainstorming sessions, provide a ways for employees to express and write down potential ideas. In between group sessions, turn a corner of the break room into Creativity Central. Mount a large white board and supply colorful makers. Every Monday put a new problem, situation or stimulating thought on the board for workers to respond to anonymously. Encourage workers to suggest topics for the creativity board. These topics can be work-related, or they can just be industry-related topics to get people thinking. People will look forward to a new challenge every week, and fostering a healthy competition between employees for the best idea will surely produce some good results.
Shake it Up with a Break
Regular breaks have been proven to foster creativity and prevent burn out. Designate a set time each day for everyone to stop work and gather to talk, drink coffee, walk laps around the building or halls, sit outside on nice days, or even engage in pool, basketball, air hockey, or one of many other desktop games available. If space permits, leave out an in-progress jigsaw puzzle. This kind of informal atmosphere promotes camaraderie and often results in employees bouncing ideas off one another. Depending on the size of your company, you can use retreats or special trainings as a time to really change up the scenery. Some businesses have used Atlanta conference facilities for retreats and conferences in order to get the employees out of the office. Changing up the flow of their regular work day will inspire new ideas and refresh the minds of your employees. Hosting a small retreat would give you the perfect opportunity to have a training, form brainstorming groups, and other activities that will inspire innovative thinking.
Listen to Your Employees
Trust, appreciation, and incentives go a long way when it comes to inspiring your employees. Implement as many of your workers’ ideas as is feasible. Some will need a trial period to judge the effectiveness, but if your employees make suggestions, show them that you’re open to trying them. Even if an idea is not taken to complete adoption, you have proven that you take your employees seriously and value their ideas. When someone’s idea becomes operational, give them an award or some kind of public recognition, a bonus, allow them to come to work late one day, let them use a reserved parking space, or whatever you deem appropriate. Sometimes a paycheck isn’t enough to get employees to do innovative work, they need a little extra incentive. Once your employees see how much you appreciate new ideas and forward thinking, they’ll strive a little bit harder to come up with the next big idea for the company.
Some of the best and most creative ideas come out of unexpected moments. Inspire your workers by providing a stimulating atmosphere where they can aspire to helping your company become better in every way. Making a few alterations to the company’s schedule, atmosphere, and meetings will help you generate innovative thinking. If you and your company are looking for the next big idea, don’t look to the competitors—use the brilliant brains you already have at your disposal.
This is a guest article submitted by Dixie Somers