7 Tips for fostering creativity in the workplace

  1. Focus your creative efforts on an area in alignment with organizational objectives in which you have control, ie, creating value for your customers.
  2. Have the courage to make the shift from command-and-control style management to one that is more collaborative, when you want to elicit creativity from others.
  3. Help people learn through Socratic inquiry. In other words, lead by asking questions, not providing answers. Give people clear objectives and let them figure out to achieve them. Give them time to think through situations, look at the big picture, bounce ideas off of peers, and experiment with possibilities.
  4. Re-frame questions so they are focused on desired outcomes, rather than problems. What are you trying to accomplish?
  5. Try these quick questions to spur creative thinking:
    What if…? Explores possibilities and invites the imagination to participate.
    What else…? Encourages people to push for alternative answers or solutions and not simply accept the first answer that comes to mind.
    Why not…? Takes away any constraints and frees the mind to explore possibilities.
  6. Break the habit of responding with “Yes but..,” when people present you with ideas. Develop a “Yes and…” mindset to build on the ideas of others, rather than discounting them.
  7. Provide encouragement. People need to feel their work matters. Give them recognition in a way that is meaningful to the individual. Saying thank you is a good start. Give credit where credit is due.

Do your employees need motivation?

The top three motivators in studies by K. A. Kovach, (over a 20 year period) are 1) interesting work, 2) appreciation and 3) being part of the team.