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July 5, 2022 // Anita Lo  //       //  Opinion

Leveraging creativity in unpredictable business environments

Stuck for ideas? During a time of uncertainty, there can be a lack of motivation or inspiration in the workplace. However, creativity is the key to success and innovation it should be nurtured across the business, from interns all the way up to the C-suite.  

That said, creativity does not just magically happen – it comes naturally to some but requires more time to develop for others. So how can creativity happen in our business environments, which can sometimes be unpredictable and stressful?

Deloitte Insights summarised this using five Ps (Person, Process, Place, Product, Persuasion). 

“Investments in creative potential aim to make person, process, and place more conducive to generating and realising creative ideas,” it said. “Investments in creative performance aim to remove creative barriers, (re)defining creative products and enabling persuasion to create space for ideas to flourish.” 

The essential ingredient is interaction. This means employees engaging with one another to generate ideas, holding brainstorms with key stakeholders, pitching to journalists and understanding what’s top of mind in your industry. Solutions and innovative concepts are ignited when creative confidence is nurtured amongst the team.  

There’s no such thing as a bad question or a bad idea. Business leaders should be open to listening to each and every individual’s suggestions and empowering others to share their thoughts. This paves the foundation for creative thinking. Avoid putting pressure on the team to perfect the first draft, the creation will require time to finesse – it’s better to take your time and get it right than do a mediocre, rushed job.   

At the heart of interaction are people – organisations must invest in their people, which is their most valuable asset. They are charged with developing and executing creative projects. Business leaders should nurture their teams – help them to learn new skills, share knowledge, and welcome curiosity. Yes, hire individuals with the right/necessary skill sets but also provide the guidance and training to existing employees to promote within. This helps organisations avoid skills gaps and a lack of talent within the industry – it also promotes employee retention.  

Management style has a huge role to play in driving creativity among teams even in the most unpredictable business environments. Leaders should encourage healthy competition, recognise achievements, and celebrate diversity by playing to people’s individual strengths and allowing different personalities to shine. 

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