Try Creative Collaboration
You might be asking yourself why creativity is one of our cornerstones. By 2020 creativity will be the third most important skill in the job market according to the World Economic Forum, and of CEO’s polled, 60% agreed that creativity was the most important skill to have in a leadership role (Fast Company, 2017).
Creativity and imagination are the drivers of innovation, the keystone to differentiation.
The good news is all humans are creative; we had to be in order to survive as a species. Creativity is hardwired into our brains. The question isn’t “How creative are you?”, but rather “How are you creative?”
If you remember back the safety and trust article and how the brain is divided, you will recall that as the brain evolved new layers were, essentially, added to the top. These additional “layers” include the limbic system mentioned in the communication article and the frontal cortex, which are divided into two cerebral hemispheres, the right, and the left.
The cortex is responsible for higher mental functions such as abstract thought, language, humor, empathy, self-awareness, and imagination. The basic need of the cortex, beyond survival and satisfaction, is a sense of connection. If we are able to consistently operate from this area, we can maintain thriving teams that systematically innovate and collaborate with one another.
It is also important to note that creativity targets both the right hemisphere and limbic system of the brain – bypassing language and “rational thought and logical assumptions” (left brain attributes). Therefore, creativity gives expression to that which cannot be spoken, due to the structure of the brain. This provides the opportunity to re-imagine concepts – the very core of innovation. However, as a leader, you need to be prepared to sustain the creative process in its various stages, some of which look very different from detailed Gantt charts or profit and loss statements.
World-renowned institutions such as Stanford (d.school) and the University of Pennsylvania Imagination Institute, understand and are beginning to research the importance of skills such as creativity, imagination, and empathy.
You might be asking yourself at this point, “Well, this all sounds well and good, but how – as a leader – do I guide my teams, and company, to operate from these higher mental structures on an ongoing basis?”
Quick Tips to increase creativity in the workplace, needed to differentiate and harness your competitive edge:
✅ Encourage doodling at your next meeting. Yes, doodling! Be the example. Draw or sketch ideas on the whiteboard. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist and if your circles don’t even look like circles. Just the act of sketching your ideas will engage a different part of the brain, which will foster new ideas!
✅ Find times and ways to “zoom out”. For instance, go outside and go for a walk. Insights, those “aha moments”, occur when we relax our focus and become receptive to see the whole. (Brain tidbit: Insights are associated with the right hemisphere of the brain that can detect anomalies and occur when not highly focused on them.)
✅ Welcome opposites. The tension of opposites is part of the creative process and can produce results that are greater than the original parts! (Brain tidbit: The right hemisphere has the ability to hold dichotomy. It does not categorize things as opposites, but rather sees them as connected and in relation to one another.)
This Week’s Action Steps:
- Refresh your understanding of the creativity cycle (link).
- How do you practice creativity in the workplace?
- Do you feel it is important to do so?
Imagine for a moment, if you could unleash and realize a fully engaged and innovative company culture. What would be different in your company culture, what would be different in productivity and motivation and what would be different in your ability to use innovation and creativity to make the best services and products for your clients?
To transcend a current situation, we have to be able to imagine it differently. To understand and change the way we think is to change the way we form our lives – and businesses.