For all businesses growth is a key success factor but this often requires creative thinking to stay ahead of the competition. In fact, a recent study by Adobe and Forrester found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results, with companies that actively foster creative thinking outperforming their rivals in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership.
But generating creative ideas that add value to a company is much easier said than done. So how do you go about promoting creativity in your organization? Creativity is very often seen as a “gift” or innate capacity that only some possess. However, the truth is we can all be creative if we’re given room to be.
When it comes to harnessing this creativity, businesses need to consider their employees’ differences. We all have individual abilities, strengths and weaknesses and it’s only by embracing intellectual diversity that we can tap into these resources.
Embracing intellectual diversity
We know and have come to accept that people learn in different ways. So why do we treat the creative process any differently? Some people are at their most creative when they’re working alone, whereas other people need the stimulus of a team to come up with creative ideas. Given that creativity is a broad concept covering different types of creative ideas and styles, the combination of a group of people with different levels of experience and ways of thinking will generate an environment of intellectual diversity.
Fostering creativity doesn’t just consist of bringing together a group of people with creative traits, but bringing together representatives from different departments who can each bring different knowledge, capacities and perspectives to the table and designing a collaborative approach which maximizes the skills and the experience of each member.
According to research by Psychology Today, creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and use whatever is at hand to reach their goals. In this sense, online collaboration programs are the perfect tool for brining together different individuals – no matter where they are located – and encouraging their intellectual diversity, as employees from different departments, subsidiaries or business lines can join “brainstorming” meetings and contribute new innovative ideas.
New tools and new ways of working
New technologies allow teams to conduct long-distance meetings the same way they would if they were in the same location, thanks to high quality audio, image and chat features found on these new platforms. Some tools also allow advanced functions such as screen sharing and white boarding among others, which facilitate communication and create a trusting environment wherein everyone can share creative thoughts. It also provides the participants with better insight by enabling them to interact more personally than a traditional phone conversation.
In addition, employees from multinational companies with different affiliates globally can get in contact with their co-workers in real-time and from any part of the world. Meetings can be initiated instantly and recorded, so that participants are able to keep a record of every word said for later review, or share with other members who could not attend to the meeting to gather their input.
In short: Even if a workforce is distributed across different areas around the world, heterogeneous working groups can be the key ingredient for the best creative ideas to fuel business growth, market share and competitive leadership.