Creativity is the lifeblood of innovation and cutting-edge business. During a Goizueta Effect Podcast, Jill Perry-Smith, senior associate dean of strategic initiatives and professor of Organization & Management, spoke about her decades of work at the intersection of creativity, innovation, and business.
Creativity may come naturally for some, but everyone has the capacity to develop a creative skillset. When we think of creativity, we think of artistic expression. In the workplace, we think of breakthroughs in technology, but some of the most important creativity has to do with problem solving. In today’s flexible workspace, creativity is rewarded and encouraged.
Each new idea takes a bumpy journey as it evolves, often cycling back and forth as novelty wears, obstacles arise, and risks become clear. Though circumstances may be different, each idea journey shares distinct phases.
In the generation phase, innovators need inspiration. Sharing ideas with strangers rather than friends can be beneficial and can facilitate open-mindedness.
During the elaboration phase, creators need support and encouragement to develop their ideas. Deeply analyzing the idea with one or two other people as opposed to sharing it with a larger collective is most valuable.
While in the promotion phase, influence and reach are critical due to the risk associated with the idea and its lack of precedent. This is the time for resource gathering and professional networking.
For the implementation phase, shared vision and trust are needed. At this point, a cohesive team with a shared north star can drive success.
So how can a business facilitate workplace creativity? Perry-Smith recommends the following:
- Encourage creativity and innovation in your workplace. Make simple changes to the way your organization and teams operate, and always ask for more problem-solving alternatives. More alternatives lead to variety and creative solutions.
- Be collaboratively flexible and reduce conformity. Think of teams as a tool that is helpful when necessary.
- Always consider novel approaches. Don’t overlook the “creative nuggets” that arise from the idea journey.