Behind every disruptive startup is a group of highly creative people who dared to push the envelope, experiment, and innovate. Promoting creativity in your company means thinking outside the box in order to make room for brilliant ideas. It’s one of the best ways to make the most of your collaborators’ talent.
Studies have shown that employees have much higher job satisfaction at companies that value and reward creativity. They’re also more likely to improve processes and products, actively search for ways to save time and resources, provide better customer service, and solve problems in a self-directed, agile manner.
On the other hand, those who work remotely report that they’re up to 56% more creative and motivated to think outside the box. This may be the result of the fact that remote work gives them more free time, promotes good mental health, and decreases the risk of burnout. All of these factors allow people to let their imaginations run wild.
Remote work is fertile ground for creativity. In order to capitalize on as much of this potential as possible, you’ll have to implement efficient strategies and good practices like these:
1.- Cultivate a culture of autonomy and empowerment
Your collaborators aren’t just capable of doing their work well. They’re professionals whose perspectives, ideas, and contributions are a valuable asset to your company. The way you communicate with them should always send the message of:
“We trust you. We know you don’t need any micromanaging. We celebrate your creativity and love that you find the best ways to achieve objectives. We’re here whenever you need support, and we value your opinions.”
Empowering your employees also means creating work environments and processes that are error-tolerant. In other words, these environments should be welcome places for risk taking, and if things don’t go according to plan these risks and errors won’t ruin or significantly delay a project. For example, when it comes to programming and software development, investing in tools that allow your devs to run test updates is a way to give them the safe innovation space that they need.
2.- Take the time to analyze what other companies in the industry are doing
No matter how unique your product or service is, your company or startup belongs to an industry that undoubtedly has other creative minds in it. Innovating doesn’t mean imitating. But having an idea of what the competition is doing and how they’re getting better results can serve as a good guidebook.
Keep your remote team up to date with the latest news in your industry and the IT sector. There are plenty of new technologies that your company can use to improve processes and operations. Try creating a monthly newsletter with up-to-date information of interest and invite your team to read and contribute to it.
3.- Facilitate virtual visual collaboration
Brainstorming is a daily ritual for many successful and innovative teams. Using collaboration tools that pinpoint and enrich new ideas in a visual and creative way is especially important in a remote work environment.
In addition to the traditional project management systems that organize a team’s work with timelines, tools like virtual blackboards for brainstorming, collaborative mood boards, interactive mental maps, and more, are vital.
4.- Promote new skill development and personal projects
We already know that constant training is a pillar of work efficiency. However, if you really want to create a commitment to creativity, find out about your collaborators’ personal projects. Then offer to provide them with related courses or certifications.
If you can be sure that your collaborators are using their creativity and genuine interest in learning and putting their skills into practice in their own projects, these same traits can be more easily transferred to work projects.
5.- Promote diversity and cross collaboration
While plenty of ideas come from an isolated lightbulb going off in one person’s head, creativity is much more the result of collaborative efforts and different ways of thinking and doing things. In fact, the best ideas tend to be the result of several people who draw on their experience to perfect or improve an initial prototype.
Strive to make sure that your team reflects as much cultural, racial, and gender diversity as possible. Your team should be composed of professionals with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. You’ll also need to make sure you create an inclusive and respectful environment where everyone feels free to challenge the status quo.
Close collaboration between different departments also boosts collaborative efforts because it puts seemingly incompatible needs or interests on the table. Doing this results in creating increasingly efficient and integrative solutions.
6.- Try using methods like design thinking
Design thinking is a learn by doing method. While we most often associate it with education, it actually came about in the 1970s as a way to speed up industry innovation by creating original and creative prototypes. These prototypes allowed collaborators to solve a problem better or cover a specific need.
What characterizes design thinking is that it involves starting work on a solution without having too clear of an idea of the end result. This allows you to make progress by using the ideas and information you have, and, as a result, the project will continue to improve itself along the way.
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