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Business Creativity & Innovation

Calling all CEOs – here are some ways to encourage Creativity

Get Implementing

As CEO, if you want people to be creative, you must be prepared to implement their viable ideas. Employees will soon work out that your support of creativity is a sham and will hold back on the creativity. After all, what’s the point in making the effort to develop and promote ideas if they just get ignored? On the other hand, if new ideas are tried out and regularly implemented, employees will be keen to keep the ideas flowing.

What you can do tomorrow

Create frameworks for developing, testing and implementing creative ideas.

Ditch The Metrics

Business leaders rely a huge range of metrics to work out how well their businesses are doing. This often includes attempting to measure creativity which is fairly abstract and hence difficult to measure. The result is that you will measure the wrong stuff just so that you can feed numbers into monthly reports.

How many ideas you have, how many people participate in your ideas programmes etc. are very nice numbers but they are useless. What matters is a) having ideas and b) doing something with them. That is how you will be profitable.

What you can do tomorrow

Stop counting the way you have been. Measure success through the number of new products, improved existing products, better packaging, improved processes, positive PR etc.

Hire Creative People

Most companies claim they want to hire creative thinkers and those with entrepreneurial backgrounds (who are assumed to be rather creative).

Diversity feeds creativity while uniformity leads to conformity. If the CEO wants creative employees, she must ensure the company hires people with diverse backgrounds and creative minds, not people who fit a corporate mould.

Diversity should not simply be limited to experience and education. Women, people from different cultures and even people of different sexual orientations can bring new thinking and creativity to a business.

What you can do tomorrow

Invest in training for your human resources team so that they can understand, hire and encourage creative employees. Train managers to support rather than hinder creative employees. Establish a policy of encouraging diversity in hiring.

Participate in Creativity and Innovation Activities

When running creativity and innovation workshops I have found that the results improve if the CEO is present and actively participates. Both organisers and participants of the event will get a lift and this will also send a powerful message that you, the CEO, actually cares about innovation.

Be careful though, this works only if active participation occurs and attendees feel that here is genuine openness. If attendees feel that the CEO has a hidden agenda then they will always go for the safe option.

What you can do tomorrow

Actively participate in creativity and innovation activities, but be careful about the ones you pick.

So here at least 4 things that you can do tomorrow. What is stopping you?

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