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Creativity & The Bottom Line

I read about the importance of creativity and innovation in organizations everywhere. I read about it in history books, in management articles and in company annual reports.   We talk about the need for creativity and innovation, but are organizations actually embracing it? Creativity calls for mistakes!  Creativity calls for crazy ideas! Creativity calls for thinking and pondering time! Creativity calls for going beyond rational thinking and even beyond emotional intelligence – it is the ability to be spontaneous and without fear. It is where vision originates.

How Does Creativity Relate to the Bottom Line?

It doesn’t take long to think of two companies that embrace creativity and their profits show it! Of course, I’m talking about Apple and Google.  Do you think their employees make mistakes? Oh yes and they make big ones!  Do you think their employees come up with crazy ideas? You bet! Do you think their employees ponder and play? We know they do! These company cultures are well documented.  You may saying to yourself, “Yeah, but these are consumer-product and service driven companies and I’m in law, IT, non-profit, operations, etc.”

Creativity is needed everywhere.  Think about information technology and the rapid pace of social media. I guarantee there was lots of pondering and lots of mistakes, and it paid off!  Think about operations. How do we make things more efficient and run more smoothly?  We come up with new ideas for team effectiveness and process improvement! The list goes on. . .

How Do We Enhance our Organization’s Creativity? 

Enhancing an organizations’ culture of creativity and innovation really starts with leadership.  Do leaders encourage pondering and crazy ideas?  Do leaders allow themselves to ponder, make mistakes and come up with crazy ideas?  Do leaders actually know how to tap into that side of their intelligence? Our culture is so wrapped upin rational thinking and ‘do-do-do’ that it is sometimes hard to tap into the part of ourselves where creativity lives. However, those that know the secret, reap the rewards!

My advice is to stop for a moment and really take a look at yourself and those around you.  Is your leadership style in need of a creative tune-up? Is your team’s creative balloon deflating? Well, then go ponder, think crazy ideas and make some mistakes! Your bottom line will be happy.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

– Steve Jobs