It’s no wonder that top business schools across the globe are offering programs such as the Cambridge Creativity Lab, aimed at helping business people recognize the importance of creativity within the business context and beyond. As found in a study undertaken by academics from Rice University, the University of Edinburgh and Brunel University, creativity and innovation are lacking in the field of business. The researchers found that current day companies focus too keenly on specific goals, failing to take the risks required by creativity. In what ways can creativity help your business achieve success, and how can you encourage it in your employees?
Creativity Boosts Work Performance
A study by researchers from San Francisco State University showed that employees who take part in creative activities outside of work can enjoy a boost in their productivity at work. Taking part in activities like drawing or writing stories, researchers found, was a deep experience that provided employees with a host of benefits – including greater self-discovery and self-expression, which could be useful when carrying out work tasks. Lead researcher, Kevin Eschleman, stated that employers can encourage their employees to take part in more creative pursuits during their free time, but creativity cannot be forced upon employees. After all, “Intrinsic motivation is part of that unique experience that comes with creative activity.”
Even Beginners Can Benefit From The Process Of Creation
One way managers can encourage creativity in employees is to incentivize employees who take part in creative workshops (which can be provided during off-peak hours within the work setting). Employees who are reluctant to join because they may not have created art in the past should be assured that even absolute beginners benefit greatly from artistic creation (as found in a Drexel University study). Employees can take part in art classes in which they are encouraged to express themselves in the genres they are most comfortable with, while focusing on subjects and themes of interest – including nature, fantasy or sci-fi. Those with a flair for fantasy, for instance, can work on sketching fairies and other fantastical creatures, while those into nature can illustrate flowers, leaves, and other natural elements. By following the teacher’s instructions, they can give life to illustrations that pay heed to aspects such as proportions of the human body, lighting, and perspective.
Networking And Creativity
Channeling one’s creativity at work isn’t limited to artistic creation. As found in a Rice University study, companies wishing to encourage creativity in employees should encourage them to network beyond their immediate business networks. The researchers explained that “The cross-fertilization of ideas depends not just on access to information and insights through one’s direct network – the people one actually interacts with – but at least as much on access to the indirect network one’s direct ties connect to.” The researchers recommended that when networking, business people should work on building networks that are not connected by the same third person. In the study, participants who created new networks of this type displayed creativity in a variety of areas – including identifying ways to connect with difficult goals, developing ideas to boost sales, and thinking up new ways to promote and cross-sell products.
Creating works of art and stories benefits individuals by helping them battle stress, yet the benefits of these pursuits can also extend to business. Studies have shown, for instance, that people who take part in creative hobbies outside work can enjoy enhanced creativity within their job. Research also indicates that creativity extends to building new networks that are not connected by the same third party.