Let’s face it.  The process of creativity and innovation is hard and takes time. Here at The Pencil Project, we understand that better than most.

Business leaders, on the other hand, are focused on productivity and tightly measured ROI (Return on Investment). A hiring decision, a promotion, a CRM (Customer relationship management) or other software purchase, they all relate to productivity and getting the most out of their assets over a period of time.

Creativity can be a disruptive force which can often be viewed as the opposite of being productive. Creativity cannot be measured and tied to a specific ROI or outcome, it isn’t going to help you power through deadlines and satisfy your key accounts, customers or people within your business.

So how can we tie these two opposite spectrums together and use creativity to increase productivity in ways which you never even considered possible?

What you can start doing right now is beginning to foster a creative friendly culture in your workplace and encourage creativity and productivity to co-exist peacefully.

Now, I’m not suggesting you have Mike and Suzan serenade the office with their version of Kumbaya while you prepare the end of quarter reporting for the board meeting the following afternoon.

I’m suggesting a few small but incremental changes to increase the chance of the creative spark flying during the day to day work.

 

Step 1: Daily Brain Exercises to Boost Creativity

Start every day with 7-9 minutes of brain exercises to boost creativity. It’s also a good idea to (jump) start every meeting with those exercises to set the tone.

It doesn’t have to be too long and no, you don’t need to bring a change of clothes.

Yes, it will help boost your creativity, spark new ideas and help you solve daily problems (personal and professional).

 

Step 2: Diversify Your Teams

Studies have shown that bring people of different age, personality & background together as part of a team will have positive results on levels of creativity and productive outcomes.

Having your team close to a 50/50 gender mix is also ideal as both males and females tend to struggle expressing opinions when they are in the minority.

 

Step 3: Spend Time Learning Lessons After Big Projects

I’m not talking about a forum for finger pointing and playing the blame game. I’m suggesting you look at what went right or wrong – look further.

Now ask the “why” question: Why was this project more successful than the other projects? Why didn’t it work out? Why did we set up this goal and not another one?

Why was it just a one man’s idea? Why was it supported by all?  Why was the communication process excellent or bad? Why was the process effective?

Spend some time on this stage and have a follow-up meeting, listen to ideas, evaluate, draw or write solutions, put them to the side, rinse and repeat!

 

Remember, creative thinking is the spice for great innovation. It’s a must have skill in the 21st century. Be Creative!