Being quick on your feet is critical in life - and business. It takes creativity. You need to be able to figure out what's coming your way and come up with a smart and effective response. Sometimes the data will tell you what choice to make, but data is useless when you're facing something brand new. Because let's face it, sometimes there's no playbook you can refer to.
That's where creativity comes in. Brands that embrace creative thinking can find opportunity and success in completely novel and often difficult circumstances. And this past year, we've seen just how important that is.
What is Creativity in a Business Context?
Creativity is creating something that hasn't existed before - it's imagination but applied. Creative acts occur when you combine separate ideas, add to or extend a concept, or look at something through a new lens.
When we talk about creativity in the business context, we're not talking about writing novels or performing Shakespeare (probably). We're referring to an organization's ability - and freedom - to run with new ideas, change course, or embrace social or technological change. Maybe staff members are invited to offer strategic input or supported to stay ahead of market innovations. Maybe leadership is fearless in the face of change and happy to take the risk of being "first." All of these are indicative of a creative organization.
The thing about creativity in business is it's not just about great ideas. Organizational creativity is about application and relevance. It's strategic.
So how can you make sure that your business is primed to be creative, and therefore agile?
Embedding Creativity Across Your Organization
A truly agile business is creative from the ground up (and back down again). Leadership is willing to embrace change because they see how it benefits both staff and customers. And employees are given the latitude to make decisions, offer feedback and suggest better ways of working.
You can infuse creativity into your organization by:
- Promoting a culture of communication and collaboration. Ensure that employees at all levels and in all departments have the opportunity to cross paths and share discoveries, questions, or challenges. This will quickly surface problems that need to be addressed or opportunities that can be embraced to take the company forward. This is especially true when your workforce is representative of diverse viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences.
- Encouraging people to keep reading and learning. The more both employees and leadership stay on top of your industry, market, and competitors, the more readily you can identify new ways of solving problems, opportunities to expand or grow, or when it's time to course-correct. The brands that quickly pivoted at the beginning of COVID-19 were the ones who were keeping a close eye on the news and could extrapolate how things might change in the near future.
- Remove the red tape and streamline processes. Smaller companies tend to be more nimble than larger ones because it's easier to change course when you only need buy-in from a few people. If reshuffling resources, changing suppliers, onboarding new vendors, or even creating content for social media requires extensive approvals and sign-offs, it's time to streamline those processes. Empower employees to make decisions within their own departments and make sure the approvals process is simple.
- Be open-minded and growth-focused. A growth mindset forces you to be creative. It makes you think about moving into new situations and dealing with the outcomes that will arise. And if you keep an open mind about how you'll solve the challenges that come your way, great things can happen. Remember, ambiguity and change aren't enemies, and "failure" is just a hypothesis proven wrong.
Need Some Help Building Your Creative Mojo?
At StellaPop, we're half left-brained and half right-brained. We're the perfect blend of creativity and strategy, and we use our imaginative tendencies to help organizations of all sizes innovate and grow. If your business is slow-moving and reactive, we can help you create the conditions needed to become creative, agile, and successful. Talk to our team of creative strategists today!