Creating an innovative team

Most business leaders say that they would like to foster more creativity in their staff members. Innovation in the workplace can be a catalyst for growth and help to ensure that a company stays ahead of its competitors. Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable using their creative sides is easy enough to do, but it is also important to create a fine balance between innovation and efficiency.

One of the best ways to foster creativity, without sacrificing productivity, is to arrange for staff members to attend a training course or workshop. A programme such as this will help those who are naturally creative to apply their skills in the workplace, while also increasing the versatility of those individuals who are more inclined towards logical thoughts and processes. These workshops can help with team bonding and generate trust between staff members.

Trust is a key ingredient when looking to encourage creative and innovative thinking in individuals. Employees will be far less likely to suggest unusual ideas if they feel that they will be judged or ridiculed for their actions. Joe Violette was quoted in Heskett’s 2007 report What is Management’s Role in Innovation?  He explained that it is management’s responsibility to create a work environment built on openness if it wants to encourage creativity. Giving staff members the opportunity to interact and enjoy each other’s company on a social level is a good way to develop the bonds required for this kind of atmosphere. Individuals in an open environment such as this will feel comfortable suggesting unorthodox approaches or ideas to each other, as they share a mutual trust.

It is important that employers make sure that their staff members understand that their opinions are valued, and that they are welcome to provide feedback or their thoughts about any aspect of the organisation; however, creativity does need to be managed. It is essential to set boundaries within which individuals can express their ideas and have sensible policies to cut off ideas that will not succeed before they cause any damage. Not every unusual idea will be a good one, but even the strangest ideas should be considered carefully before being dismissed outright.

The simplest way to encourage creativity is for management to create an open workplace, based on trust, within which innovation can thrive. In this environment staff members will feel comfortable sharing their ideas and understand that they have permission to think laterally to find creative solutions to problems.

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