Sparking Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace

Continually performing successfully at the forefront of your industry can be exhausting. Employees can run out of good ideas, creativity can be stifled and individual or corporate expression can be lost in revision after revision. Yet, that’s what it takes to be on top in today’s market.

Many companies these days are trying to avoid creative and innovative burnout, and they’re doing so by making work more fun and promoting a healthy work life balance. That may seem counter intuitive, but CAREEREALISM.com encourages companies to take a cue from businesses like Facebook and Zynga, whose offices are filled with pool tables, games and even slides. Sometimes, fun is the foundation for the next big idea.

Encourage “playtime.” All work and no play is a mantra of the past. Today, offices are investing in ping pong tables, video game systems and gardens to provide employees with a break from real work. What they’re seeing, reports CAREEREALISM.com, is some really great brainstorming coming from this type of social interaction in the office. Plus, you get the added benefit of employee retention as workers mix, mingle and establish relationships with one another.

Invest in artwork. White walls and florescent lighting will do little to evoke the imagination, and that’s why CAREEREALISM.com suggests investing in a little artwork. For further fun, you can have employees create their own artwork for the office. Offer them the chance to show off their paintings, photography or sculptures, and when you hang it up, make sure to feature their name next to their artwork. This kind of recognition creates a company culture where employees feel valued.

Tear down walls and barriers. Literally. Don’t let employees barricade themselves in offices or tall cubicles. Create more meeting spaces with televisions, coffee makers or healthy snacks. You could even institute a “no instant messenger” policy. These physical changes encourage your employees to get up, walk around and interact face-to-face.

Mix it up. This starts at the recruiting level. Don’t hire the same people over and over again. New hires should fit well into the current company culture by positively adding to it. CAREEREALISM.com says, “An office with a healthy blend of cultures and experience levels will give rise to varied ideas.”

Brainstorm the right way. Yes, there is an incorrect way to brainstorm. Oftentimes, brainstorming sessions are extremely free flowing, allowing for every idea, good or bad. CAREEREALISM.com states that managers should be critical at this stage of the idea process; referring to author Jonah Leher who says that without analysis and criticism, employees will think every idea is a good one.

And having fun in the workplace is one of those good ideas. Just look at some of the most successful companies today. By creating this type of workplace environment, you’re not only fostering great ideas but creative and innovative employees.

How else can you encourage employees to let loose and drive creative contributions? Share now!