Industries that rely on constant innovation need leaders who are able to foster creativity among their teams. However, it can be difficult to feel creative all the time, especially in an office setting.
Getting out of the office, meeting new people and sharing ideas with others are just a few ways that team members can find that creativity again. Below, 11 Rolling Stone Culture Council members share these strategies and more that have helped them effectively encourage creativity among their employees.
Try Out an Improv Technique
Allow for Flexible Working Hours
I encourage creativity by allowing for flexible work policies. For instance, I let all employees have some time off, even during work hours, or let them work on side projects. I like for them to have a space to communicate freely and express their unique personalities. This is what makes them creative in the first place, and how they can contribute innovative ideas to the company. – Jacob Mathison, Mathison Projects Inc.
I encourage my teams to be creative by asking them to explore new ideas. I encourage them to think about problems from different perspectives. This helps create innovative solutions. I encourage brainstorming. This creates a collaborative environment, and creativity blooms. By encouraging my teams to be creative, we achieve goals faster, and it is fun to come up with new solutions to problems. – Thomas Bresadola, Simplified Entertainment
Create a Safe Space for Taking Risks
You have to create space for innovation and make it safe to take creative risks. Not every creative spark leads to a home-run business initiative, so give your team time and space to try out different things. Then, be decisive when you see something exciting and run with it! – Dan Giuliani, Volt Athletics
Get Out of the Office
Being creative at work can be a challenge. It’s the same place and same thing for 40 hours every week. Creativity needs inspiration! Bring your team to an inspiring place. I worked on a kid’s snack brand and so decided to bring my team to Canada’s Wonderland (a Canadian amusement park) to observe families and brainstorm. The output was great! – Brad Canario, Auxly
Request Solutions, Not Problems
I ask my team not to bring me “problems” but to bring me “solutions.” It is an integral part of how we operate. My team’s input is extremely valuable because they are the “boots on the ground” experts in their respective departments. I don’t always agree with their solutions, but I always value their creative input. – Sheila Dedenbach, Heavenly Sweet
Give Them Challenging Projects
I throw the team in the “lion’s den” (which means I give them a project and some specs and let them run with it). I love it. Some rise to the challenge, and others do not. But, they learn and they at least have addressed the fear of the unknown. The value of this is that they learn they have the skills to get through anything with the tools at hand. – Susan Johnston, New Media Film Festival®
Offer Bonuses for Teamwork
One of the best things that has worked for me when it comes to encouraging my team to be creative is offering bonuses for the entire team to work together. Doing so not only encourages a fun atmosphere, but also encourages collaboration and builds trust. No team member is afraid to fail because we’re doing it as a team. – Jenny Ta, GalaxE by HODL Assets, Inc.
Foster Connections With Successful Leaders
I encourage everyone to take a curiosity tour and connect with creators and builders from other arenas. It can be anyone from a documentary filmmaker to a freestyle hip-hop artist or entrepreneur with a really innovative business. It is endlessly fascinating — and inspiring — to hear stories of what people have achieved, where they have faltered and where they are going. – Michael Klein, Trees Corporation
Host Regular Discussions
I am a big believer in regularly scheduled, open-ended discussions where teams actively brainstorm. Too many times, meetings get very bullet-point structured with updates, and team members feel they can’t deviate from the agenda to have an idea or “throw something out there.” Build time in for ideas to spark, and support the process when it starts happening. – Cate Rubenstein
Ask Them to ‘See the Invisible’
To foster creativity, I encourage my team to think about “seeing the invisible.” For us to drive innovation, we have to create ideas and processes that don’t currently exist. Most companies are looking to just slightly improve what already exists, but we look to invent brand-new ideas and methods. This allows us to innovate and create on a much more profound level. – King Holder, PROCUSSION