Why is creativity in the workplace so crucial - regardless of the industry you work in? Why is it something those in leadership roles should prioritise, and how can they do that?
In this blog, we’re taking a deeper dive into the answers to those questions.
For us at Design Cloud, the importance of creativity is clear. Our business is built on our passion and talent for graphic design, a very creativity-fuelled role. But why is it equally as important to encourage creativity no matter the industry you work in?
We believe that when your team feels creative, it’s more likely that they’ll succeed in their role and feel confident in testing new and innovative approaches. Existing processes can only be adapted and elevated when the team is free to explore alternative ways of doing them.
When your team feels free to think creatively through their tasks, you can really increase the efficiency of the workflow and the quality of the output in the process.
Along with this, the need to be a forward-thinking company is only getting more urgent. Consumers are on the lookout for quicker, more efficient ways to solve their problems and expect as much from the brands they’re already loyal to. Creating a solution to a problem is at the heart of business, and it’s up to business leaders to make sure that the brand continues to think creatively about the very best way to address the challenges of the clients.
In most cases, encouraging your team to express their creativity will start with the example of those in leadership roles set. Promote an environment where asking questions and giving ideas is safe, and where feedback is given constructively as well as honestly. You can do this by asking your team for feedback on existing processes in the business, putting time aside for one-on-one team meetings, sharing resources that inspired you or even blocking out dedicated time to brainstorm with your team.
In order for a team to work creatively together, communication needs to be a top priority for you as a team leader. It’s your job to encourage and motivate your team to share ideas, be forthright with any challenges they’re facing and need help on as well as to give you feedback on things they’ve noticed in the day-to-day tasks that aren’t working as well as they could be.
A practical way you can encourage communication is to look for tools that enable better collaboration. This can be just as important for those teams working in an office as it is for those working remotely. Project management tools like Monday.com, Asana or Trello give your team a clear and convenient way to check-in with where projects are up to and what needs to be worked on next.
Tools like Loom, a favourite of us here at Design Cloud, allow you to share a video message with your team that can be replayed and referred back to in the future. You can chat through things on your screen and display information visually to team members, which can really improve communication on creative projects.
Look for the challenges your team is facing with collaboration and communication, and ask them what they feel would help. When you understand those key points, you as a leader can find tools that will make the overall workflow more effective and conducive to creativity.
Part of what makes a great team is having a diverse range of perspectives, and leaders can get even more benefits when they consult every member of a team. When you speak to members across departments and open up communication between teams, you get a more rounded view of how the entire process is working. It’s then easier to identify areas in which your department could help those further down the workflow, or identify the support your team needs more of. It also means that communication throughout the entire organisation is better, meaning that each team is able to consider more clearly the effects that a different, more creative approach could have.
When leaders show that they are really looking for new ways to do things rather than being against shaking up traditional operations, they encourage their team to do the same.
For those not in leadership roles but who want to contribute to a creative culture in the workplace - what can you do?
A great way you can contribute to a more creative culture is to take the lead in asking for support where you need it. This has always been easier said than done, and understandably will need to be encouraged by good leadership. However when you ask your team for opinions and support, you open up communication better and help to contribute to an environment where it’s ok to not know everything - and where questions are more frequently asked. When more questions are asked, there is more room for creativity as a team.
Another way you can contribute to a more creative culture is to work on giving clear and helpful feedback to colleagues. As graphic designers, picking out the specific elements of a design that needs changing and the reasons for the revision is the most helpful way to give feedback on a piece of work. For those working in other departments, the principle of that can still apply. Look for what exactly might need changing or amending, and give the reason why. Working on giving concise and helpful feedback makes for consistently better results as a team and makes it easy to identify areas that you can push the creativity on a project further.