Creativity is essential in fields like design, marketing and advertising, but pretty much every business wants to rise above it’s competitors and stay ahead of the latest trends. Creativity is a crucial part of that process. In 2014, a study by Adobe found that over 80% of companies felt that businesses that are more creative gain greater business benefits like revenue growth and market share. So what does it take to be creative in business?
Let’s start by taking a look at what creativity actually is. The dictionary tells us that creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something”. When most people think of creative professions, fields such as photographers, designers and musicians spring to mind. But not all creative thinkers are artists in the normal sense of the word. Look at Einstein for example. He couldn’t draw for toffee but he famously once said “the greatest scientists are artists as well”. What did he mean by that, then? We’ve no idea, but an article from Psychology Today tells us that “Einstein himself worked intuitively and expressed himself logically”.
Einstein’s biographer, Alice Calaprice explained this better than we can: “If what is seen and experienced is portrayed in the language of logic, then it is science. If it is communicated through forms whose constructions are not accessible to the conscious mind but are recognized intuitively, then it is art”
Well, this is getting pretty deep. But what we’re trying to say is that creativity is found in many professions, and many people who would never class themselves as creatives often are. Builders, barmen, hairdressers, engineers and chefs. You’re all poets, and didn’t know it.
Here are a few tips on how to inject a little creativity into your business.
1: Forget about what everyone else is doing.
Thinking about what the competitor up the road is doing takes up valuable thinking space in your mind that would be better spent on developing your own goals and strategy. Another problem with paying too much attention to your competition is that you can develop a false ‘safe zone’. An example of this for example, could be that you notice everyone else in your field uses the same social media platform and the same style of marketing message (recruiters, I’m looking at you). In noticing this, you may restrict your own creativity; ‘if no one else is using video in their posts- I’d shouldn’t either’. Command’s Creative Director and commercial photographer, James says: “In the early days of my career, I used to look at a lot of other photographers work and assume that to match their success, I had to be like them. It was only after several years, when I really just started to do my own thing, that business really took off for me.”
That’s not to say that keeping an eye on industry trends is not worthwhile- your competitor may give you an insight into new areas of business for example. Be aware, but don’t obsess.
2: Do everything backwards.
Well, not quite everything. Walking to the office from the station in reverse is most likely going to result in a nasty fall. What does work though, is reverse engineering your goals, and coming up with unique ways to reach them. We recently went to a meeting with a client who had a great ‘theme’ idea for a video. The theme was based around a movie, and while it would have looked great, there was no purpose to the video. The ‘creative’ element had come before the message and goals of the content had been thought of. This is something we witness a lot. We tend to find that deciding on a goal, then finding creative ways to achieve this works out much better. Here’s an example of this.
3: Add a bit of creative inspiration to your workplace.
Working in a grey, windowless cave does little to inspire creativity. You don’t need to ‘do a Google’ and have slides in your office instead of stairs, but having a few creative pieces of art of design in your office can really make a difference. When choosing what to add to your workplace, think of how each item will contribute to your business’ culture and highlight the values you want to bring to light. Spaces that are vibrant, bright, and clean are much more mentally stimulating and can actually reduce stress. Additionally, break out areas where staff can clear their thoughts are also fantastic for fostering innovation within a company. It’s also not a bad thing to give your team some time outdoors.
4: Encourage and reward creativity.
Set challenges in your work place that encourage creativity and reward those that put the effort in. This can be as little as coming up with ideas for the Christmas part venue, or as involved as helping to choose the new company tagline. A client of ours recently gave a few of it’s team members that were brimming with new ideas for the company a small budget to undertake some of the projects that they had come up with. This is a fantastic way to empower your team!
If you are struggling for ways to inject a bit of creativity into your business, feel free to get in touch.