Emma Bannister (pictured below) is the CEO of Presentation Studio and author of the book Visual Thinking: How to transform the way you think, communicate and influence with presentations. In this guest post, Bannister offers her top tips to get the creative juices flowing…
Many of us wrongly assume that to be creative, means to be artistic. In fact, creativity involves using our imagination or original ideas to create something. It’s about being inventive.
That means we all have an inner creative, whether we’re a marketing admin or the top dog, running the show. Here are three ways to foster a creative culture in your organisation, and what happens when you do.
- Listen to every voice
A culture of creativity isn’t about bringing together hipsters in pimped-up rooms with ping-pong tables. It is about creating safe spaces in which everyone can be heard, and ideas shared and implemented through solid leadership. If people always see that their ideas are shut down and not listened to, acknowledged or even worse, if they are agreed to and then they don’t happen, then those people will stop coming forward and they’ll eventually move to a company where they feel their contribution is making a difference. Remember, the loudest voice is not always the best solution.
- Prepare to be wrong
In Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 Ted Talk, ‘Do schools kill creativity?’, he says: ‘If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” By the time children reach adulthood, Robinson explains that they are fearful of making mistakes. This carries over into the workplace and stifles the very generation of ideas. Coming up with creative ideas is a process. It involves brainstorming and adding to each other’s suggestions – it’s rarely an aha moment that gets picked, pitched and implemented straight away. As Jacob Morgan, Head of The Future Organisation, says: “if you don’t have an organisation where people feel the ability to be vulnerable, to be empathetic, to be themselves, then you are not going to have collaboration.”
- Be a human
Whenever we have the opportunity to be creative with our teams, employees or customers, we must remember we’re connecting human to human. It’s not about showing off or only talking about the positives. What is the situation right now? How are people feeling and what challenges is everyone facing?
Don’t hide any bad news. Lying or covering up the truth only makes things worse. But make sure you move to the solutions, show the future opportunity that everyone, and every idea, can be a part of.