15 Tips on How to Build Creative Company Culture

2:11:00 AM

Global economy is going through a change and it is very probable that in future we will witness creation of new economy models that will have their effect on the existing, no longer sustainable distribution of wealth and power. In this rapidly changing future, small and middle size companies will have to embrace creativity and innovation if they want to stay in the game and remain the leading force of any country’s economy.

Illustration by Frits. Please visit HikingArtist.com’s photostream and web page. Thank you.

In the near future, having visionaries and innovators in the team will become the key asset for any successful company. You may well argue that it is not that easy to find such people, that they belong to a small group of exceptionally talented individuals and that if it was easy to think like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, every company would be like Microsoft, Apple, or Facebook. And yes, you are absolutely right. You will hardly be able to find someone like them in the human resources market. The trick is not to look outside, but inside your company. Look for the creative people among your own employees! Develop creative culture inside your own team! Instead of looking for one exceptionally creative brain, cherish the creativity of your own people and you will discover not one, but a whole array of creative heads waiting to share their creativity with others.

As the owner or a MD of the company you have the responsibility and power to influence the future of your business. Creative culture and passion for innovation could become the main strengths of your company and the pillars of its long term growth and success. Here are some useful tips on how to convert virtually any company into a creative one.

1. Choose priorities: creativity or profit
Creativity should become the number one priority in your company. If you are looking for quick and profitable solutions, you will end up creating average products that bring more or less profit. On the other hand, if you decide to pursue excellence in creativity, you will be offering amazing products and services that will make up for all the other mediocre opportunities that you have previously missed. Once you have built the reputation of a creative and innovative company, people will come and buy from you without you even asking them to do so. Just let me remind you of the excitement before the launch of any Apple product.

2. Provide clear definition of your mission statement
Every single employee in your company must understand the company mission statement. This way they will realize the purpose of their work and their creative efforts within the company.

3. Be passionate and determined 
Believe in what you preach. Give yourself 100% to the cause. Be honest if you want to be accepted. Lead by providing the example. Do not manage – inspire!

4. Respect your employee
All members of the team need to be recognized and appreciated for what they are as contributors to your business success, no matter how what position in the company hierarchy they occupy. Nurture individualism and autonomy during the working process. Your employees need to have autonomy, but at the same time they should be fully responsible for the job they are doing. When giving out tasks, define the goal that you want to achieve and let your people find their own ways of making it.

5. Introduce freedom of creative speech
People should be encouraged and inspired to freely share their ideas. There should be no censorship in the creative process... EVERYONE is welcome to contribute with their ideas, from the couriers and drivers to the top managers.

6. Promote group thinking and group work
Organize brainstorming sessions, shift team members when you are distributing tasks/projects and give team members opportunity to work with different people – this will help them get to know each other, learn from each other and inspire each other.

7. Provide a chance to learn
Creativity can be taught. There are many courses that teach people different creative techniques. Give your employees opportunity to acquire skills that will help them become more productive and proficient in what they are doing. Start a company library; buy new, interesting and informative books; provide access to useful and inspiring magazines... If necessary, provide a life coach for those that show the greatest creative potential.

8. Create culture of innovation
Always look for alternatives, improvements, and non-standard ways of solving problems. Many of ideas that your team will come up with will be unfit, some of them will be excellent and a few will be brilliant. Sometimes one brilliant idea is all it takes to make huge business success.

9. Work AND play
Work process should be fun. Fun adds to better mutual understanding and building of team spirit, it creates passion for work.

CREATIVE TEAM - Photo by tifotter. Please visit tifotter’sphotostream. Thank you.

10. Create tribal spirit
Your employees should feel members of one big family. Different as they are, they are the biggest value of your company. They should be proud of each other and of the company they are working for.

11. Celebrate together
Celebrate every victory of your team. Gather together for one hour toast at the end of a particularly successful day. Celebrate together birthdays, public holidays (Women’s day, e.g.), personal victories (awards, child births, diplomas of your employees)...

12. Provide little perks
Award your employees with concert tickets, membership cards, free coupons... These things will not cost you much and they will serve as powerful tokens of your appreciation for the contribution they are making.

13. Facilitate creative opportunities
Show maximum understanding if some of your employees need  temporary breaks from work to finish their studies, or undertake some specialization programme. If some of your employees need scholarship to finish a course, offer them financial help - people appreciate those things and when the time comes, they are willing to give back twice as much.   

14. Appreciate failure
There is no success without failure. Ask any successful person and they will confirm that they have failed in life but that their failures made them stronger and even more determined to go on. It is perfectly OK to fail as long as we learn from our own mistakes. Your employees should not fear failure because it will kill their desire to create new and unusual ideas.

15. Create inspirational setting for your employees
Sterile office cubicles should become things of the past. They kill personality, discourage initiative and creativity. Instead, bring colour to your offices, use different and interesting furniture, create micro-spaces, encourage employees to design their working space. Bring in plants, an office pet, have a small cafeteria, terrace or a patio where employees can relax or hold their meetings in the open. Build a Thinking Room by converting one of your conference rooms into a cosy, inspiring space where people will feel liberated to create new ideas.

As you can see, some of these ideas do not take much time and money to implement. Start from small and transform your company step by step. Creating creative culture is a process that takes time, but as the first creative ideas become reality, and the first results show up, both you and your employees will realize the positive effects of this change.

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If you wish to further explore this topic, you can check out the selection of my favourite books about creative thinking.

Key words for this blog post:
creative problem solving, creative thinking, creativity, creativity and business, how to create new ideas, innovation, innovation in business, innovative companies

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