How Can I Create A Workplace That Inspires Creativity and Innovation?
Creativity and innovation in the workplace are inspired by three basic mindsets: Believe; Prioritize; Be Courageous. Jeff Ramos, General Manager at The Garage, runs a programme designed to help employees innovate. To him an employer must believe that their employees are capable of having great ideas that can grow their company. They have to clearly communicate to their staff that creativity and innovation is a top priority, and make space for it. And when the good ideas roll in, they have to be courageous and actually implement it. Because if you aren’t willing to disrupt your own business ideas, someone else will.
It’s extremely valuable advice to accelerate creativity and innovative thought among employees. But how do you implement it practically? Well, just like our universe, creativity is all about space and time. And constant innovation is the key.
Uninspired workers don’t simply pitch up in the office one morning and proclaim “I have an idea!” They need a constant example. And the best way to show your commitment to their creativity is to create a creative space!
I don’t (necessarily) mean graffiti on the walls and a fireman’s pole into the lobby. A creative innovation space is a versatile space. It accommodates the different working styles preferred by the different personalities working in your company. An innovative, creative space also allows for changes in your working style during the day.
Think about these five examples:
1. There’s an impromptu brainstorm, and three team-members need an office meeting pod with a table that doubles as a whiteboard and many cups of tea to blast out ideas.
2. You get a call from the financiers and need to duck into a phone booth to take the confidential call away from the open plan office.
3. Members from five different teams are pushing through on a tight deadline, and they need a versatile project table to hot-desk together for a couple of days.
4. A client just popped in to check on the progress of your designs, and you need an AV Media Table to present and discuss what’s happening.
5. Despite your lush desk chair, your doctor says sitting all day is ruining our back, so you kick back that chair and raise your standing desk for a whole new perspective.
By opening up your workplace with flexible possibilities, you also encourage your people to share their ideas and express their creativity. The physical space your staff occupies every day has a massive impact on their adventurous mindset. Refreshing that area with a new and helpful furniture addition every now and then shows them that you have a growth mindset.
Next, provide your people with time to express their creativity. This is where progressive companies like Google have their “20 Percent Strategy”. The idea is simple. They encourage their employees to work on their own Google-related passion projects for 20% of their time. Microsoft hosts the planet’s largest hackathon every year. Their employees get free reign to develop their own ideas. These get reviewed by specialists, and the goodies are guaranteed sponsorship for further development. Both of these are incredibly effective strategies to use the time to accelerate innovation in your company.
One last point made by Jeff Ramos when speaking to www.modernworkplace.com, is also perhaps the most important: “Value failure as essential to learning.” As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella boldly states in his must-read book Hit Refresh, “We need to be willing to lean into uncertainty, to take risks, and to move quickly when we make mistakes, recognising failure happens along the way to mastery.”
Create your space. Be innovate with your time. And take a chance.