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Developing Creative Thinking Among Employees!

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Creative Thinking

Most of us feel comfortable going with a tested model and getting everyone to follow it for everyday operations. And we feel reasonably certain that it will yield us dividends. Of course, it will. But it will eventually kill the creative instinct in our employees and make them more and more dependent on the model. It will deprive us of better ideas which our employees can come up within a creative environment. Who knows, maybe the best solution to one of our nagging problems is right within an employee’s head! We may even have a new business idea which we have not yet explored.

I don’t deny the fact that standardization can avoid confusion and improve productivity. But all I’m suggesting is to not make the organization too rigid and to welcome newer ideas. You need to create a culture where ideas keep floating and your employees contribute to this pool without inhibitions.

Here are a few tips which can help you.

Encourage Your Employees to Openly Disagree. Ensure that your employees are not intimidated to express their views. Assure them, through positive gestures and a smile that it is okay to disagree. The more you listen to them, the more they feel encouraged. Keep in view that at times their ideas can sound superficial or crazy. Never reject them straightaway or be judgmental on the spot. If at all you need to reject an idea, explain why you cannot implement that idea. Thus, employees will learn where they are going wrong and feel encouraged because their idea was respected as you took the time to hear them out.

Discourage Group Thinking. In group thinking, one individual presents an idea and everyone follows it. Discourage this kind of attitude by showing that you don’t necessarily implement the first idea that comes up. Create a fun environment in brainstorming sessions. A serious atmosphere can be intimidating to timid individuals. Give everyone a fair chance to express their views. Be open-minded and never discriminate between individuals.

Some individuals can be too reserved to speak in public. So be approachable and encourage them to come to you any time.

Unite Individuals with Different Backgrounds. Idea generation can be at its best when individuals with different backgrounds, knowledge and perspectives come together. Ensure that both experts and fresher’s are on the discussion. At times fresher’s can give you a fresh perspective on a problem which experts cannot see.

Appreciate and Reward Originality. Show appreciation for original ideas by praising the individual(s) in communication meetings and public gatherings. Reward them suitably.

What sounds like a simple and intriguing idea can be an outstanding concept. So build trust with your employees and among your employees so that they come up with fresh and profitable ideas for your organization.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • farahana

    Hi Ayesha…i had wonderful experience while a was conducting trainings and working with my team. Just follow the tips
    Develop a knowledge sharing and learning cutler and then get the best out come…
    you can not imagine that the persons, who are really low self-steam and have non

  • Deb Smith

    Hi Ayeesha,
    If you haven’t already read Daniel Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind,” I’d definitely recommend it. He writes about activating the right side of the brain and how it produces more creative, synergistic ways of thinking. The great thing about the book is that he ends each section with a list of simple (and fun!) things you can do to increase your creativity, ability to think about the bigger picture, look for themes and hidden relationships, collaborate with others, and so on. He also includes a list of additional resources for each section. I’m planning to use some of his ideas to help our managers stimulate collaborative thinking in their teams.

  • Your articles are wonderful. So many good insights and always well-written.

  • Venu

    Its too good..

  • Mirjana

    My experience tells me that creative thinking needs informal settings, creating the atmosphere where every idea is welcomed and a bit of a playful scene. Its worth remembering that as kids we used to be very creative, reminding adults to “play” in adult adjusted setting ,can be one of the way. six thinking hats to mention one…

  • Have you heard the expression “There’s always more than one way to achieve a better result” ? Creative Innovation is about finding of all these alternate ways.

    Many people fear their ideas are worthless, and so do not try to improve processes, or increase productivity. Help employees to understand that creativity is the process of sharing MANY seemingly silly ideas to find the startlingly brilliant FEW. The idea they think worthless may in fact – with some tweaking – be just what everyone was searching for!

    Inspiring creativity means removing from ones mind the barrier of the known. When you can accept that creativity is potentially limitless, and learn to shape your ideas to achieve the desired result, then you will be able to see problems & needs as new opportunities!

    Encouragement gives courage to think Creatively!

  • Reminds me of a painting artist who visited when i was at primary school. As some children were thought to be very good at painting, others were considered and considered themselves as less creative and even untalented. The first thing he stated was that everyone is creative and has some unique talents.
    In about one hour he was able to encourage and engage every one in the creative act of painting a very big picture. As some were very good at the technique of painting, others were masters at mixing the colors, cleaning the brushes, coordinating the process.
    Creativity has many faces…..It also takes creativity to discover the creativity in others.

  • Frances Share

    What’s curious is that we pick an attribute, say creativity, or creative thinking, or strategic and systems thinking and we look for ways to identify it, process map it out, then isolate and incubate that attribute or talent, or skill and get some process people to find ways to apply the Suzuki Music Method to it.

    In and of itself, without all of the other thousands of things going on within a person, within their psyche, will that attribute we in management want actually come to the fore on demand, even with the right culture, the right mix of people, the right leadership, the right foods for breakfast?

    Yet creativity by its nature is a thing unexpected: and yes there’s a whole debate about learned or innate — like nature/nuture. Let’s spin the dial and hope it lands on it’s both.

    While creativity, and creative application of any talent or skill is not the sole purview of artists, there remains an ineffable something in the spinal fluid and grey matter that’s unique to humans that can’t be uploaded into an expert system, into a program, into an AI machine — at least not yet. And to Jos’ point — knowing when and where creativity is needed and how to apply is and when to reign it in is an art unto itself.

  • Bay

    An interesting topic with a fascinating diversity of responses, which may be indicative of the scale of the challenge.

    While I tend to go with Frances’ assessment that it is not something that can be systematised, I am not sure it is unexpected other than for the fact it reveals something new or previously not considered. Rather creativity is a different response to a situation and is stimulated by one or more of the following:-
    * Enthusiasm
    * Curiosity
    * Necessity
    * Dissatisfaction
    * Self-interest
    Thus, while you cannot systematise creativity, you can create an environment that stimulates and inspires it. Indeed, I would say, that this is a leader’s single biggest priority and the fact that employee engagement is so low is indicative of a massive failing on the part of management. The dissatisfaction they create invokes negative responses rather than positive, perhaps because of the failure to recognise the other environmental needs required.

    And since innovation is a synonym for creativity and is a necessary component for business survival, there is a need to turn things around – PDQ!

  • Steven

    -My comment on this topic from Linkedin-

    Although people don’t like to conflate creativity with systematic thought (the two seem to be inherently at odds), I think that much, if not most, creative problem solving springs from a systematic approach to solving problems. Let me explain:

    I’m sure most of use have heard, in one form or another, the idea that properly understanding a problem is half the solution. And, well, it’s true. But it’s not always easy. But if you can systematically break down what your resources are, what you intend to do, and what is lacking in the current situation, then you can move on to step B.

    Step B is to evaluate the properties of all your resources. And then you can match up those properties with what needs to get done.

    Step C is to evaluate the properties of things you don’t have, and then match them up with the properties of what needs to get done that weren’t covered in step B. And you have to figure out how you can then obtain what you need.

    “Creative thinking” usually occurs because, a) someone recognized a property that needed to get done that wasn’t noticed before (“needed” is all relative. It could be something people didn’t even know they wanted to get done at all, or a detail about something that people knew they wanted, but hadn’t thought out fully), allowing more to get done, or for stuff to get done better [step A], or b) someone recognized a property of something that was available or could be obtained [steps B and C] that could match a property of what needed to get done, or c) both.

    “Mind-mapping” and all other creative tools out there are merely ways to facilitate steps A, B, and C.

    Of course, all this isn’t easy, and takes resources to do. Which is why we have systems in place that cover most needs with good solutions so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
    The key is to mix in a lot of procedure with a good dose of creativity to find the ideal mix.

    It goes without saying that this is all just my opinion, of course.

  • Bill Goad

    What initiatives can help an organization to make its people think ethically?

    I would strongly suggest implementing a collaborative work environment, that is based on ownership, alignment, mutual respect, trust, integrity, full responsibility, and self accountability. I facilitate teams in our organization and these are the pillars. If you have them, then “thinking ethically” becomes natural.

    I plan on facilitating full time in the near future. If you would like more information, please reach out to me.

  • “The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

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