Creativity is a popular subject in the business world and a crucial element of any online marketing campaign. It’s also notoriously difficult to define and identify. So it was very interesting to those of us in the content creation world when Adobe – the leader in creativity-enhancing software – released a study on the way it works in organizations around the globe.
You can see a summary of Adobe’s findings on creativity in an infographic here, but perhaps their most eye-opening conclusion was that a lot of people feel that creativity is being stifled within schools and workplaces.
For all the lip service that gets paid to think and act differently than the competition, it’s actually slightly shocking to think that creativity might be inhibited at multiple levels of your company. If no one is generating any new or innovative ideas, then it’s only a matter of time before you become just another vendor in the pack, or worse.
So, drawing on the results of this study and our own experience here at Kayak Marketing, I’d like to offer a trio of easy ways to boost creative thinking within your company:
1. Recognize the value of creativity.
Business owners talk a lot about “thinking outside the box,” but the reality is most organizations (and their leadership) are afraid to take risks when it actually matters. What that really tells us is they don’t sufficiently value creativity and realize its worth.
Thinking creatively helps separate you from the competition and gives you unlimited access to advantages other businesses don’t have (and in some cases, can’t replicate). But to really recognize how important creativity is, you just have to think of where all of us would be without it. Instead of just talking about creativity, make it an actual business priority that you reinforce in your team with bonuses, prizes, or other incentives. One such contest I participated in the way back at the beginning of the Internet rewarded surfing to an end destination (a race) with a plastic silvery princess tiara (worn with pride by each successive winner). It looked something like this.
2. Include everyone and give them the freedom to think creatively.
When people come to us for content marketing, website design, and online marketing deployment, they expect us to be creative because it’s in our service descriptions. Creativity comes in a lot of different forms, though, and you could have some great minds, and great ideas, hiding within your organization.
Don’t restrict creative thinking to the marketing department. Instead, encourage everyone who works for and with you to contribute to meetings and brainstorming sessions or even announce raw ideas as they are conceived. You might be surprised at where some of your best ideas come from.
3. Fail repeatedly, but on small scale.
One of the reasons creativity is stifled is that everyone wants the great ideas – the ones that look like sure things in retrospect – while no one wants to be personally responsible for any kind of failure.
The answer to this conundrum is to encourage everyone to try things that might fail on a small scale. Let them know that little losses and setbacks lead to bigger breakthroughs later. Encourage them to think creatively, even if their ideas don’t pan out right away, because what seems like a bad idea today could be the spark that ignites tomorrow’s inspiration.
Creative thinking is the soul of human ingenuity and the engine that drives all social, technological, and artistic processes. But being creative doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with a great headline or drawing a new logo – it can be as simple as finding a new way to improve customer service or re-imagining some of the “best practices” that are taken as givens in your industry.
At Kayak, a lot of our best work is coming from challenging assumptions. We encourage you to do the same and to follow these three tips to start unlocking the creative potential of your organization today.