Want long term success for YOUR company, all your valued team members, and all your valued customers? Follow these 7 simple guidelines:
Creativity is no longer a feel-good, luxury item of “the creative class” but an essential (and learnable) skill for your entire organization.
Here’s the tough news for your company: As the global marketplace continues to become more and more competitive, those jobs and enterprises that a machine can do faster or someone else can do cheaper will go the way of the dinosaur and the dodo bird. Here’s the good news for your company: Companies that invest in developing their team members’ creativity will foster cultures of innovation, cultures with the ability to shape shift and morph to take advantages of rapid changes and unforeseen opportunities in the marketplace.
According to a recent study, “Companies that embrace creativity outperform rivals in revenue growth and market share.”
Bob Dylan once said, “he not busy being born is busy dying.” Creative companies such a Google, 3M, and Pixar are consistently in the process of being born, not as the companies they were the day before, but as expressions of the curiosity, imaginations, and contributions of their valued team members intersecting an alive, vibrant, ever-changing marketplace. As reported by Forrester consulting, “Companies that foster creativity are 3.5 more likely to achieve revenue growth of 10% or more than their peers.”
Without creativity, innovation is impossible.
Innovation may be more associated with the tangible development of new, useful, and profitable products and services. But without a company culture that fosters creativity, such potential innovations either go unspoken (for fear of ridicule or negative repercussions), never get developed (for lack of allotted time or resources), or never make it into the marketplace (for fear of failure), all of which thwart a company’s ability to grow and evolve over time. For innovations to come into being, a company needs to first promote creativity, to create policies and rewards for thinking, being, and interacting outside the box.
Like creativity, our ability and desire to work with others is ingrained in our DNA.
According to a new hypothesis featured in Scientific American, the reason humans “conquered the planet” was because “our species wielded the ultimate weapon: cooperation.” Those companies that foster creative collaboration, both internally among different teams and departments and externally with other companies, including so-called competitors, will prevail over those who choose to silo different departments within the organization or to isolate themselves from outside influence. Additionally, those companies that learn to co-create with the planet, that is come up with new ways of doing business that help restore the vitality of the biosphere and honor all life, will help usher in a whole new phase of human evolution.
With their ability to be realistic about pressing challenges while simultaneously connecting with and inspiring their teams, creative leaders are essential.
In 2010, in the midst of a tanking world economy, a survey of over 1500 CEO’s across 33 industries and 60 countries concluded, “more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity.” Why? Creative leaders are able to inspire, empower, and ensure their employees while simultaneously cozying up to the dynamic, interdependent, uncertain landscape around them and see patterns and opportunities.
As a species, we all have a unique desire to experience our lives as significant. Creativity as a company value brings a profound sense of fulfillment and meaning to the lives of the people who work there.
Through the nourishment of creative insights, the gratification of bringing those insights into the world, the ecstatic joy of dropping in the experience of creative flow, and the excitement we feel when we are wowed by the creations of others, the creative process quite naturally brings fulfillment and meaning to our lives. According to the Forrester survey, of all the companies ranked highly for fostering creativity, 69% have received awards and recognition for being a “best place to work.”
Want to make the world a better place? Across all industries, the world is begging for creative and innovative solutions.
How can we get billions of workers to their jobs each day without exhausting the world’s fuel supplies? How can livestock be raised in a way that actually leaves the land better off than it was before? How can we educate our children in a way that doesn’t just pack their brains with information but fuels their imaginations and encourages them to bring their own mind-blowing innovations into the world? Across all industries, creative solutions are in high demand. Moreover, those individuals, teams, and organizations that can come up with creative and innovative solutions will be celebrated by others and reap huge financial rewards.
About the Author
Austin Hill Shaw is a creativity expert who works with individuals who want to unlock their full creative potential and organizations that want to build cultures of innovation. He is the founder of Creativity Matters, author of The Shoreline of Wonder: On Being Creative, and inventor of The Creativity Quiz.