4 ways to cultivate creativity

Creativity involves more than encouraging employees to become thought leaders. Cultivating creativity is a process and should be a priority inside and out of the office.

These skills enhance problem-solving, team collaboration, innovation, communication and growth. Creativity is not reserved for writers or artists, it’s beneficial to all employees as it can help them grow and push personal and professional boundaries. So how can cultivating creativity become a goal-oriented task on every company’s to-do list?

In order to foster creativity, consider these tips: collaboration, do your homework, and embrace change and bravery.

1. Collaboration

First things first: every employee must be willing to work with others to expand upon and develop ideas that will bring in revenue, stronger relationships with clients and long-term success. More intuitive minds working together will increase the likelihood of creative and successful results, and provide more diverse perspectives, ideas and resources.

Diversity is an important aspect to consider regarding collaboration and creativity. It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut with the same old ideas and reworking past innovations. Bringing in different backgrounds allows ideas to flow more collaboratively and the ideas that result will appeal to wider audiences.

Appealing to larger audiences gives your new, creative idea the chance to evolve and adapt to audiences over time. As social and political issues change and continue to impact the professional world, innovations that consider a wide range of audiences will have longer lifetimes. Innovations that only appeal to a certain demographic group at a certain time might get the job done at the moment, but it won’t last, and you’ll be right back at the drawing board once the idea is no longer relevant for that target audience.

Teamwork makes innovation easier and more successful in the long run. Have genuine conversations with your team. Even when the discussion diverts and goes off onto a tangent, good conversations can help creative thinking flow.

Don’t be too proud to lean on coworkers when whipping up new ideas. It saves time, resulting in more efficient usage of the workday and more profitable ideas.

2. Do your homework

The job doesn’t begin when it begins. It begins days, weeks or even months prior to actually sitting down at your desk and crafting up a project plan or campaign.

To improve your creative skills, get used to doing your homework and staying curious. It’s important to research industry news and developments, products, services and anything else that could inform your new, creative ideas.If you ever have questions about an idea you’re working on, do the research required to be more informed on the topic you’re developing.

When crafting these new ideas, be sure to write down every thought you have. Having a notebook to work out of is a great way to keep your ideas, questions and research data organized. It’s also important to write down even crazy thoughts you have while daydreaming. There are no dumb questions, and, sometimes, those questions further your creative spirit and inform your future endeavors.

If your creativity brings you to the point of delivering a presentation to your peers or executive team, you must have the research, data and statistics to support your plans. You will be asked hard questions, especially if your ideas are unconventional or extensively creative, so you want to be prepared for any questions that come your way.

Part of growing as a creative is continuing your education. Learn everything there is to know about the happenings of your industry and competitors. This research is the backbone of every new idea you present to your team.

3. Embrace change

With creativity comes change. You will have to step out of your comfort zone and feel slightly uncomfortable in order to grow and improve.

An idea that sounds amazing and doable today, may not sound the same tomorrow. Ideas and plans are always changing in the professional world, so you have to be able to adapt quickly and effortlessly.

The idea you pitch at first will continue to evolve and transform in major ways before the idea is actually acted upon and implemented.

In order to survive a competitive market, once great ideas evolve into entirely new ways or working or living. For example, Netflix began as a DVD rental company and is now the most popular streaming service for movies and television shows. The original product was once a great idea, but it needed to adapt to the changing landscape of how people consume television and film. If it didn’t, it could have failed like Blockbuster.

It’s okay to feel uncertain about your changing ideas, but embrace and accept the twists and turns of the idea journey. Do not feel discouraged when your idea undergoes a total transformation. You got the ball rolling and ended up with a great new product!

Creativity is how change manifests; it’s a process and takes time.

4. Be brave

It takes a special kind of person to realize the importance of bravery when it comes to creativity. It’s a lot of trial and error and could include many late nights full of impending failure. It sounds scary, but it comes with the job.

Developing ideas and changing them constantly never truly results in failure. Even when your attempts fail, with the right mindset, your team learns valuable lessons that will help with future success.

A million failed ideas are not real failures, they’re just a million ideas that helped you get to the final idea that did work.

Learning to be creative is not a simple task. It takes practice, time, effort and problem solving. These four skills, however, will enhance your journey to becoming a creative powerhouse. Never quit thinking, playing and creating.