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Monday, 14 September 2020 17:05

Encouraging Innovative Thinking and Creativity Within your Team

In terms of creativity, many businesses overlook a significant asset they already have on hand, their employees! It stands to reason that more likely than not, the people who know the most about the company are the people that work there, and can offer creative solutions and ideas in an environment that places an emphasis on that.creativethinking

At American Lumber, we have long been an advocate for employee creativity within our organization. Here are a few things we found useful in an effort to encourage innovative thinking:

Include Creativity in Your Hiring Process. Companies that strive for diversity in their hiring practices are often ahead of the curve of their competitors. The reason for this is that they have a workforce with a diverse background, offering differing worldviews and experiences. Encouraging these employees to help come up with creative solutions to important problems can be a real benefit for your business.

When conducting interviews with potential candidates, look into the candidate's history and see if they have an inclination towards problem-solving. Ask if they have any ideas on improving processes and operations. Their answers can offer clues as to their potential for creativity.

Reduce Organizational Barriers. Depending on the size of your business, it may be that employees in one department have limited, or no interaction at all with employees in another department. Whenever possible, look to find ways to get these departments to interact. This helps combat insular thinking and opens up the path towards creative problem-solving.

Encourage a “no bad ideas” approach. Employees may hesitate to come forward with great ideas over concerns over negative consequences. Thoughts like “Will my manager’s opinion of me change if I offer this suggestion?” or “What if my idea costs too much?” can pop into their heads.

To combat this, your job is to eliminate these concerns by supporting brainstorming sessions where there are no bad ideas. The key to having successful brainstorming questions is to “abandon logic” and ask provocative questions that put you on a path toward developing unique solutions to complex problems.

Allow Employees to Take on Challenging Projects. Most, if not all, companies have some internal operational issue or customer service problem that is beyond easy solutions. If you are looking to encourage creative thinking, consider giving some of your employees project to work on that is a challenge for the business. Many times, the lessons learned when tackling a project like that becomes a defining moment in their career and offers the opportunity to see the grit and determination of the employees tasked to that project.

Another excellent benefit of encouraging creativity among employees is that they generally feel more valued the more they are able to contribute. This in turn can lead to deeper employee engagement and generate greater success in a quest to retain your most talented workers. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

Have you made a point to encourage innovative thinking with your teams? What methods have you found effective in fostering that type of environment? We would love to hear your thoughts. 

American Lumber
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Last modified on Tuesday, 15 September 2020 14:08