How to build Creative Teams in your organization
The heart of innovation is creativity that can be individually realized but actual innovation only happens when the creativity of individuals combines to create a powerful team that can produce results. Creativity is a quality not easily observed and thus, it is also hard to develop and sustain, especially in teams. How can you use the creativity of your people to come up with innovative products, services, or solutions?
Creativity is already there in your employees, but it will only come out on the surface when you create an environment that nurtures it. So, the first step to building innovation is to create a culture of creativity so that your creative employees can thrive, generate creative ideas, and build innovation. For this, you can take these steps:
Step 1: Gather Creative Minds
Identify top creative minds in your company and make them creative champions to lead others. These people are talented, have a knack for generating ideas, and can easily connect with others. They can become guides or mentors to other people in your organization as well as can help you identify various methods, strategies, and techniques that can help foster creativity in your organization.
Step 2: Give your Team Direction
While creativity comes naturally, it takes nowhere without direction so your next step should be to help them find their creative path. You can do this by introducing development programs like training and mentorship. You must identify skills you need to develop or hone and arrange experts from outside or use your champions to lead training programs to bring all your people on the same page.
To help your teams develop their creativity, you can also arrange for informal sessions and activities beyond training to allow time for brainstorming ideas. While doing so, you must also share the vision of your company with them and ask them how they think can this vision be achieved if there was no limitation on what you can do as an organization.
Step 3: Eliminate Barriers
On the way will also come certain challenges that would restrict open thinking. You must eliminate them. Ask yourself – Is your environment allowing people to express their ideas without the fear of being criticized?
Conduct collaborative sessions between people that involve only idea generation and discussion without evaluation so that such an environment can be created, and barriers are diluted. A judgment-free environment can provide psychological safety and let people share their ideas openly thus, you must discourage any type of criticism during creative discussions.
The barrier could also be internal, and your people might not be open to sharing ideas wondering if they are being stupid. Here, you can use reverse psychology, and instead of asking them to come up with brilliant ideas, tell them to come up with the most stupid ideas they can think of. This way the pressure to deliver the best would be released and the ideas will find flow.
Step 4: Reward Creativity
If your people are coming up with ideas, encourage them through rewards so that they are motivated to give more. Your rewards don’t necessarily have to be big. Even appreciation in front of a whole is also a kind of reward. Add more psychological rewards like these to motivate them.
To help your team develop their creativity, here are a few techniques you can give them during training and discussions to encourage the flow of unique ideas –
- Creative innovation spaces where they meet only to discuss creative ideas and not for regular work
- Involve them in visual activities like designing, mind-mapping, doodling, or storyboarding with your champion guiding them on how the design process works
- Your teams can play creative games that push their nerves and make them think beyond their boundaries
- Arrange for activities that push your people to go out of their comfort zone, so they open up and their creative side finds a way out too
- Create small teams for brainstorming that allows each one to contribute equally
- Ask your team questions or give stories during creative meetings that make them go explore alternatives, challenge assumptions, and think beyond their normal approaches
There are also some unconventional techniques that most innovative companies in the world use today. Google gives its employees a chance to define one’s own work instead of giving them a standard job description. Zappos promises to give its new employees money if they feel that the profile offered to them is not a fit to their skills. You can take inspiration from them or design your own way to foster creativity.