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Cultivating Creativity

Posted by Valerie Nolan on September 5, 2013

How does a business protect their core corporate values and elevate the level of creativity in the workplace? Inspiring and managing creativity to reflect your corporate culture is not always an easy goal to accomplish. The majority of corporate branding and advertising video projects follow a strict format in order to protect their brand. Now the guidelines will definitely vary between industries, as some will allow more leeway to be creative. A Nike advertising campaign will surely differ in tone compared to a Bristol-Meyer Squibb campaign, because the corporate cultures are vastly different. Does this mean companies like Bristol-Meyers Squibb can’t open up their creative playbook and be a little less predictable? No, they just have to find a way to foster that creativity within the guidelines of their corporate structure.

Defining Creativity

Creativity is “the process of having original ideas that have value” said Sir Ken Robinson during his vastly popular TED-talk presentation back in 2006. The dynamics that exist between right-brain and left-brain thinkers isn’t as black and white as we may think. One of the biggest misconceptions is that creative-minded individuals are usually not business-savvy and business-minded individuals don’t exude creativity. How can that be true when you have companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft showcasing the ability to harbor both creativity and showcase tremendous business acumen? Their constant evolution and forward-thinking innovative corporate structure have aided their sustainability in the marketplace. Corporate culture is a key component to nurturing and developing more creativity within the workplace. Creativity is needed to solve new problems, fix current ones, and innovate new practices within your corporate environment.

8 Ways to Inspire More Creativity at Work:

Diversifying your team

Often times we collaborate with individuals we have the best chemistry with, because we feel that’s how you produce the best results. I will not negate the importance of chemistry or what some call positive vibes. Sometimes we need to step out of that comfort zone and challenge ourselves to work differently. Encouraging collaboration amongst individuals that don’t usually work together is a great way for employees to learn from one another. A great example would be to pair up those staff members with an introverted personality with those that have extroverted personalities. Allow their ideas and workflows to mingle together. This can introduce new approaches to individual workflow and enhance critical-thinking skills by forcing everyone to think outside their normal box. Creating diversified work groups, and allowing everyone to have the same level of input will certainly create some challenges, but will likely lead to more innovative solutions.

Creative Spaces

Typical corporate office layouts consist of cubicle dividers and dull mundane color schemes. In the cubicle-world, employees are seemingly locked into a defined space and collaboration often entails dialing a neighbor’s extension, or walking from one cubicle to the next when your idea light bulb starts glowing. Scheduling weekly staff meetings is common-place, while they are great for encouraging collaboration, it will never yield the same results compared to having an open creative office environment. The lack of constant human interaction can hinder innovative thinking amongst employees and create a systematic process of normalcy. If you remove cubicle partitions and add splashes of color, it will create a more relaxed atmosphere. If it’s not possible to do a large scale office renovation, try implementing a dedicated area for brainstorming. Anything to break up the monotonous daily routine will certainly encourage more consistent collaboration, inspire more innovation, and creative-thinking.

Fostering Challenge

iStock 000021527878XSmallThe comfort zone we sometimes create for ourselves may be causing a lack of creative thinking. Fostering creativity requires challenge; it requires choosing the path less chosen and working through limitations. Encourage employees to take on new responsibilities, preferably ones they have no prior experience with, and allow room for growth. Try not to utilize the same individuals every time when problems arise because they are already great at problem-solving. In order to create a culture of innovative thinkers everyone must feel challenged. Divvy out the responsibility equally amongst staff, and inspire individuals to be more proactive in accepting new duties. Creating an open environment for exploration is hinged upon constantly seeking out what stimulates and encourages your staff to look beyond their present comfort zone.

Just Do It

The phrase “Just Do It” was coined by the Wieden & Kennedy advertising firm back in 1988 during an agency meeting for Nike. This campaign created for Nike was highly successful because it encouraged action. When an idea hits we tend to over analyze it, and talk ourselves out of acting. This could be for a number of reasons like lack of support, fear of failure, or maybe it’s just not encouraged within your company structure. When you allow employees to feel comfortable bringing ideas to the table it creates a creative open atmosphere. It also showcases that you value their opinions, service, and encourage forward-thinking. Getting out of the habit of elongating the process of action can really help push your company culture forward.

Welcoming Failure

Bill Gates said “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Innovations are mostly discovered through past failures. The lessons that come from failure can serve as the precursor to finding success. If you are going to encourage your staff to think progressively, they have to feel comfortable failing. You have to welcome risk-taking without employees fearing the repercussions of proposing failed ideas. Embracing the failures that come along with forward-thinking will help develop an environment that breeds more creativity.

Get Out Of The Office

Your typical 1-hour lunch break can sometimes add to the repetition of mediocrity in the workplace. When things become systematically routine complacency will surely settle in eventually. Becoming more flexible with employee scheduling can be a tremendous morale booster and showcases appreciation for dedicated service. Allowing your staff some flexible telework days, scheduling out of office brainstorming sessions, or scheduling a once a month company lunch outing to discuss ideas are viable solutions. You have to analyze your corporate structure and implement solutions that would be sustainable within your company. This may be a little easier when traveling to shoot film in various locations.

Employee Recognition

Constant recognition of the quality work your staff is delivering is mandatory when attempting to develop a creative environment. If your staff is showcasing exceptional performance and remarkable progressive leadership, they should be consistently acknowledged for their achievements. This will certainly inspire the staff to continuously deliver high-quality results and boost morale across the board. Identifying the parameters of what warrants recognition is not a one-size fits all type of deal. What works in one environment may not work in another. Recognizing excellence regularly is a great way to establish more leadership, accountability, and loyalty amongst staff. Appreciation is a constant, regardless of business type; the lasting effects of gratitude can continuously inspire your staff to remain upbeat and progressively creative.

Collective Support

HiResThere is definitely no clear cut solution or magic wand you can wave to summon more creativity within your office culture. Proactive thinking and innovative brainstorming must be encouraged, supported, and championed. The process of employing challenging new workflows and constructing a new internal corporate vision is merely a formality without repetition and practice. Discovering how to improve upon the stagnant creativity that plagues your company’s culture is only the genesis. Being able to proactively support these solutions heavily rely upon the support of the entire collective. From the top to the bottom, everyone must be on board, and welcome the challenges that come along with change.


I challenge you to examine your current company culture and what can be improved upon to help cultivate more of a progressively creative office atmosphere. Is your staff engaged, or are they bored and drowning in their repetitious daily office functions? Does the current company landscape motivate team members to be performance driven? I could go on and on continuing to ask a myriad questions related to the subject matter, but the truth is the solutions being presented are certainly not the turn-key solution for every circumstance. These suggestions are intended to evoke thought and get your wheels spinning on how to implement strategies that are a great fit based on your corporate structure.

What are you doing currently to ignite new creativity amongst your team? Is there anything we missed that you would like to add? Let’s talk about it!

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