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Enabling for Creative Time in the Workplace


Too often organizations expect creativity or innovation to come only from certain individuals in the business – the product development group, the executive level or individuals who focus on strategy. But innovation can come from anywhere within the organization – the role of the individual does not matter. Remember – innovation does not have to be a groundbreaking new product or new service, it might be a small change in how work is done that enables for better support of the customer or quicker time to market for products or services.

Consider the following as a way to get the creative juices flowing! Start by setting aside a day where employees, from throughout the organization, get together in cross-functional groups to tackle a particular business problem.

  • Present a business problem to be solved to each group (e.g., fix of a product that does not meet customer expectations)
  • Have each group brainstorm issues related to their problem (e.g., reduced customer satisfaction, loss of customers to competition, revenue impact, etc.)
  • Reduce the issues down to the top 8 – 10 that are the most impactful on the company
  • Have each group develop an action plan for addressing those issues

To make this most effective, put employees to work on a problem that is not an area of their expertise. Using our example above, do not have anyone in the group who is in product development, sales or marketing. Rather – consider individuals from finance or human resources to work on that issue.

Having trouble getting started? Try this creativity activity first. Have each group find something to pass on to another group – a small jar of jelly, a belt, a spool of thread, etc. Ask each group to spend 10 minutes thinking of every possible usage for the object in front of them. For example – for a small jar of jelly – possible uses include: vase, use lid for small dish, pedestal, etc. Not an easy creativity activity, but it really gets people thinking! I like to make a little competition out of it – best brainstorming wins a prize.

Are you ready? Get going! You’ll find that by enabling for innovation and creativity within the workplace you’ll have engaged employees who have some great ideas to move the business forward.

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