Depending on the nature of your business, you might already have a strong idea of how creativity and innovation benefit your company. If you’re anything like TruScribe, the line is direct: our creative output benefits our clients, which benefits us. However, maybe your company’s product isn’t as directly tied to creativity as ours. You’ve likely heard that increasing creative and innovative work can give your business a serious boost. Let’s explore how creativity and innovation can enhance business growth and development, no matter what industry you’re in.
Creativity and innovation lead to higher overall success in organizations, even more so than raw intelligence. Traditional companies and educational institutions tend to prize intelligence as the most important factor in problem solving. However, this preference might have been born out of ease rather than best practices.
After all, it is “easier to measure and manage” intelligence over creativity, which can be harder to identify. When creative thinking is prioritized, positive feedback is received, and encouragement is given to solve problems creatively, the company will see improvement.
Blend Two Types of Thinking
Creativity also encourages people to grow in their ways of thinking. Divergent thinking, or exploration of numerous unconventional possible solutions to a problem, is a hallmark of the creative process. Alternatively, convergent thinkers are those who excel at analysis and reaching accurate solutions to problems. When you pair divergent thinking with convergent thinkers, problem solving becomes a ‘best of both worlds’ experience. Convergent, conventional thought keeps the project focused and grounded, while divergent thought provides novel and unexpected solutions.
Those unexpected solutions can directly translate into new and exciting products and services—and, quickly, organizational success. This happens through the process of innovation, which you can see as a graduation point of the creative process.
As divergent thinking and conventional methods meet and produce ideas, take these ideas a step further. Innovation demands implementation, so put some of your creative team’s ideas into practice. It can help keep you ahead of the competition, reach new markets, and provide existing markets with interesting new reasons to revisit your company’s website—and buy.
Embrace the Fundamentals of Innovation
Like creativity, innovation can take many forms—and, like recognizing creativity, recognizing innovation might be harder than one would think. For one thing, it can be a “series of small, incremental changes” instead of a single, ground-breaking change.
Since innovation “fundamentally… means introducing something new into your business,” you might already be engaging in more innovation than you realize. Each time you improve a process, draft a new policy, add value to a product, or install fresh facilities, you’re innovating. You’re implementing new ideas, which took creativity to discover.
Create a Creative Workplace
Creative thinking can also lead to innovation that will grow your business through increased productivity. When you “focus on what things you can streamline and what things you need to cut out” while keeping the systems that perform well, you’ll build a simpler, more efficient workplace. Creative thinking lets you come up with ideas that will excite and motivate your team.
Of course, productivity can slow down unexpectedly at times, so think of creativity and innovation not as end points, but as ongoing commitments. “You can update… anytime to remain productive,” so do so. Don’t stifle the potential of the approaches by sticking doggedly to their first results. Creativity and innovation work best as a continual practice. You might even consider asking your team for occasional check-ins, feedback, and suggestions for possible next improvements.
Speaking of asking your team about innovation, Laura Stack suggests actually creating an innovation team. This team, “comprised of members with diverse working styles, experience, and skill-sets, whose primary purpose is to get together to innovate,” could exist permanently or intermittently.
Stack’s best choice of words in her description of this team is “diverse”. Diversity of thought goes beyond simply having convergent and divergent thinkers in the same group. It means incorporating diversity of background, beliefs, perspectives, and more.
Stack’s mention of skill-sets adds an even stronger dimension to the diversity she suggests: interdepartmental cooperation. When you innovate with a cross-functional team, you increase not only the number and quality of ideas presented; you create stronger harmony within your organization, and foster a stronger sense of unity.
When departments are physically separated, it can be harder to maintain a feeling of togetherness throughout the company. By putting different team members on your innovation team, you’ll increase the diversity of thought, and reinforce the team’s camaraderie.
Reach New Heights
Creativity and innovation can be the pathways for your business to reach new heights of product value, process improvement, productivity, marketing success, and internal harmony. The creative process can lead to novel ideas and concepts. This is especially true when the divergent thinking it requires is complemented by conventional convergent thought,
When a diverse, cross-functional team looks to innovate through implementation of creative ideas, they’ll work more effectively, flexibly, and with a greater sense of unity. From product designs that are miles ahead of the competition to minor office changes, any new improvement to your business is an innovation. This process doesn’t happen just once, either.
A continued dedication to creativity, and innovative use of creative ideas can drive a business’ growth impressively. All it takes is a comfort with the approach and encouragement of the process. And with these kinds of benefits, why not get comfortable?
Do you think your company innovates frequently? Have you, in fact, been innovating without realizing it? Does your company promote and encourage creativity? How does it do that? How might you begin to encourage creativity and innovation in your organization?