Marketing, PR and other creative teams need creative work environments to be successful. Without new ideas, your company can’t compete. The good news? Improving workplace creativity doesn’t have to take a lot of time or even a lot of effort. Use these strategies to turn your team into a creative machine.
Build Diverse Teams
If everyone on your team comes from similar backgrounds and has similar life experiences, they will all have similar ideas and approaches to work. If you want fresh ideas, and you want teammates to challenge each other, you have to build diverse teams. That means hiring people from different generations, different backgrounds, different races and ethnicities and people who have had vastly different life experiences. It can take time to build a diverse team, so in the meantime, you can mix up the groups who typically work together the most often. Switching people around forces people to step away from familiar patterns and try new things.
Reward Great Ideas
Keep in mind that a great idea doesn’t always mean a successful idea. Sometimes, brilliant ideas fail when the rubber hits the road. If you want your team to be a creativity machine, reward people when they come up with a new idea that hasn’t been tried before. Rewards don’t have to be expensive. You can reward people by letting them leave a few hours early on a Friday, taking them out to lunch, recognizing them in a staff meeting, etc. When people see it’s ideas that get the recognition, they will push themselves beyond their perceived limits.
Knock Down Physical Walls
People brainstorm and ask each other for input when they are in open spaces. If your office uses cubicles, take the top walls down and create a more open space in your team’s area. Some people may be put off by the open space, and many people genuinely need quiet in order to do their work, so ask team members to use headphones if they play music and try to keep an eye out for increased socializing.
Make Brainstorming a Group Activity
You can “train” your team to brainstorm more by facilitating brainstorming sessions in your meetings. During each staff meeting, present a real challenge facing a team member, or client, or talk about a snag you’re experiencing with a campaign. Then set a timer for five minutes and ask people to just shout out ideas as they have them, no matter how wild or crazy they may seem. After the meeting, send out the ideas in list form and have the group vote on their favorites. You’ll likely find some creative ways to solve problems, and it will get people in the mindset of expressing and exploring ideas as they have them.
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