etting rid of old patterns and habits is not easy, and doing the same mundane tasks every day makes it even harder. The best way to foster new ideas and promote interactive learning is through creativity. Not only does it give meaning to the work, but it provides a fun environment for the worker to grow. If your workers want to come into work each day, they’ll work harder and faster.
Even supposedly dull projects can become interesting if presented in the right way. A great example can be found with HowToo Expert’s partnership with Sydney Water who needed to create a behavioural change within their workplace. The question here was: How do we make the typically dull topic of workplace record keeping fun and interesting? The result was a visually-rich, 15-minute module created to drive engagement and reward participants as they learn.
Learning takes place through play. When you take the stiff-form of learning away and replace it with something creative, you’re left with employees who are engaged, interested, and determined. Which is what every workplace wants.
Why is creativity important in the workplace?
We’re all creative beings, even if we don’t all work in the creative industry. As humans, we’re hardwired to learn better under the following circumstances:
- When we’re less stressed.
- When learning is fun.
Creativity is more than painting a beautiful picture. Creativity in the workplace, no matter the field, means nurturing new ideas, working as a team, and looking for unique ways to problem solve.
Job dissatisfaction is a common problem, which is caused mostly by feeling bored, unmotivated, and unheard. By creating an environment that promotes new ideas and growth, you’re also creating a more passionate team.
How to build creativity in the workplace
So, how do you build creativity in the workplace?
We have five easy steps for you to follow.
#1 Resist routine
Routine is important, but there’s a time and place for it. When it comes to creativity, routine should be resisted.
We all do a lot more routine-based activities then we realise, mostly because we do them habitually rather than instinctively. Sticking only to your daily tasks prevents you from switching up your internal processes, making every day predictable and dull.
Allowing team members the opportunity to work on projects outside of their usual responsibilities will encourage growth and allow them to develop a more adaptive approach to their work.
Create a climate of innovation, where creativity throughout the whole team is encouraged rather than resisted.
#2 Provide opportunities for creativity
Compare a toddler’s imagination to an adult. Both are creative, but only one feels the freedom to express it. Unfortunately, over time, we become more cautious, analytical, and self-conscious. That’s why it is so important to provide people with opportunities to rediscover their creative tendencies. A lot of amazing ideas go unheard every day, simply because people are not given the opportunity to contribute.
Design thinking is a consumer-focused, collaborative, and practical approach to problem solving. At the start of each new project, simply engage a small team across different disciplines to imagine a learning experience that will excite, engage and challenge. Opening this up allows new ideas that might not have been imagined before.
Remember to always celebrate all past creative solutions to encourage creativity moving forward. When team members can actively see that their contributions made a difference, they’ll be more willing to share again.
Take a look at some of our HowToo case studies for examples on how creativity can completely shift a workplace. From non-profits to major banks, it’s important to notice the diverse range of clients with whom we’ve created award-winning digital learning modules.
#3 Foster a collaborative culture
A collaborative culture, also known as a ‘peer culture’ is a work environment where every employee feels comfortable and safe to share and discuss their ideas. Not just with their colleagues, but also with management.
A company best known for their collaborative and supportive workplace culture is Pixar. In the early development stages of a feature film, Pixar management always affords great power to the organisation’s artists, writers and creatives to make decisions and conceptualise a vision. The rejection of micromanagement and fear thus allows creative direction to be given from different angles. There’s a reason Pixar make such memorable and creative productions!
At HowToo, we’ve put these same principles into place with a bottom-up approach to design. The results have been incredible, and we’re amazed at the creativity of our designers when given the opportunity to take the reins.
Ultimately, what’s most important, is to remember how much we can learn from each other.
#4 Begin with small changes
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of change, which often results in inaction and a lack of motivation.
Allow creativity to thrive in the workplace by dividing up tasks into individual steps. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, break everything into small and manageable chunks. By doing so, you’ll allow plenty of time for ideas to emerge naturally and give ample opportunity to engage with different sources of inspiration.
For instance, at HowToo, we are inspired by websites from outside of the learning industry that have been recognised for their exceptional design.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Begin with small changes and allow creativity to come organically.
#5 Embrace mistakes
Mistakes don’t mean you’ve failed. Mistakes mean you’ve taken chances. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. This means seeking outside help and always being willing to adapt to feedback, data and analytics. We grow through our mistakes, and it’s where the best learning takes place.
At HowToo, we’re passionate about digital accessibility, but are always learning new ways to make our work more inclusive. During our production process we recognised a need for external support, and enlisted the help of Intopia to provide expert feedback on our designs from an accessibility standpoint. This meant listening to their critique and implementing the changes from their feedback, and understanding that mistakes could be fixed. We’re a better company because of it.
There you have it – Creativity: A tool everyone in the workplace can benefit from. Building a more creative workplace will transform the way you do business and a sure fire way to set your organisation apart from everyone else.
Get in touch with us today to see how your corporate learning strategy can build creativity in the workplace.
And to get your team’s creative juices flowing in the meantime, check out a book we’ve been loving: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios.