Creativity and Innovation in Business

Have you ever thought about how you could develop innovation and creativity in your company? These are the types of questions we ask at AIESEC. Today, there are many reasons to foster innovation and creativity in the workplace i.e. the fierce competition that can come from anywhere in the world and the fact that markets often go through crises that are totally outside of our control. Leaders in organizations have a crucial role in developing creative thinking among the employees. In this post, we’ve gathered some ideas for understanding this topic.First, we need to understand the difference between creativity and innovation. The following definitions were extracted from this article at Business Insider:Creativity is about unleashing the potential of the mind to conceive new ideas. Those concepts could manifest themselves in any number of ways, but most often, they become something we can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste. However, creative ideas can also be thought experiments within one person’s mind.

Innovation, on the other hand, is completely measurable. Innovation is about introducing change into relatively stable systems. It’s also concerned with the work required to make an idea viable. By identifying an unrecognised and unmet need, an organisation can use innovation to apply its creative resources to design an appropriate solution and reap a return on its investment.

Creativity and Innovation aren’t the same, but they walk hand in hand in prospering businesses. But then comes the question, what can we do to be more creative in our daily lives? The video below by Kirby Ferguson explains the idea of creative thinking by “Copying, Tranforming and Combining” ideas, which have been firstly introduced in his series, Everything is a Remix.

In summary, everyone is equally creative in their own way. But in order to foster creativity, we should create the right limitations/boundaries that would guide our thinking. Once we understand what the boundaries are, we should investigate, read, write and watch as much as we can about the topic. After doing that, we should just stop thinking about it and let our subcounscious mind do the rest. In his original “Everything is a Remix” series, Kirby argues that there is no such thing as true originality anymore. Most of the new stuff we see are just combinations of other ideas and concepts that have been around for some time in different fields of study. Therefore, we could say that creativity stems from thinking with the right limitations and also combining different experiences and pieces of knowledge from different places to create something “totally” new. The following TEDx video corroborates the theory of defining the right boundaries at the beginning of the creative process.

In order for an employee to be creative, he/she must feel the liberty to do so. The leadership has to incentivize them to think from different perspectives and use different life experiences to come up with new solutions. A leader who is authoritarian and closed to input can block this kind of creative thinking. It is also very crucial to note that team work is much more preferred to reach innovative solutions, since the experiences of the members could vastly contribute in combining ideas. The right facilitation can produce wonders in brainstorming sessions. No ideas should be discarded, they should be analyzed and combined with other ideas for producing innovative solutions.

It could be a little difficult for employees to adapt to this kind of work routine if they are not used to it, but the more they put their minds into creating solutions that are totally out of the box, the more they will get used to it and the more they will perform. They might even come up with ideas without you having to ask for it.

Why don’t you give it a try? In AIESEC, we provide companies with young talent who are creative and willing to cause a positive impact in the workplace. Access our international platform and find out for yourself or access our companies website for more information.

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