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December 5, 2014

Teaching Innovation: Creativity in the Workplace

Business

Jeff Cochran

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The trademark of a successful company is innovation in the workplace. Companies that succeed long term have a policy that promotes creativity and trust in the employees who drive change, and provides leaders with influence training to keep this creativity going. As with anything, practice makes perfect, and innovation must be harnessed, cultivated, and acknowledged to reap positive rewards. Use these tips to motivate employees to think outside-the-box and propel your company’s success.

 

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Foster Collaboration 

As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” Whether working remotely or in an office setting, aim to inspire team members to collaborate in an easygoing environment. Structured settings, like timed meetings or proposal deadlines, can inhibit creativity and put the focus on competition. Instead, designate brainstorming sessions and choose a different team member per session to lead. Completing influence training equips managers with the ability to create an environment and culture that fosters collaboration.

Redefine Work Processes 

A change of scenery can significantly improve your team’s ability to think creatively and add innovation to your company. Consider redefining work processes by instituting sprints or taking your brainstorming session outdoors. Focus on the elimination of distractions, like electronics, phone calls, or busy public areas, and encourage team members to concentrate on brainstorming the answers to three (or fewer) questions. Doing so will both promote collaboration and provide employees with a welcome change of pace. Influence training for managers is helpful, as it offers deep insights into employees’ decision making processes.

Hire Passionate Team Members 

Above all else, strengthen your team with individuals who are enthusiastic and passionate about your business. Whether their expertise is sales, customer relationships, or marketing, make use of your team’s passion to facilitate creativity and innovation. Through the completion of influence training, managers become adept at understanding each employee’s strengths and goals, leading to more productive brainstorming sessions and the reinforcement of ideas.

Don’t Reject Creativity 

Sometimes, great ideas get dismissed if they are not relevant to the topic at hand. Unfortunately, the employee who had the idea becomes discouraged, while managers fail to save the idea for a later project. To inspire creativity in the workplace, always keep the big picture in sight. If an employee has a great idea that can be used later, acknowledge his or her initiative and make a note of it. Keep a repository of ideas, either digitally or in your meeting space, to revisit at another time.

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