“Creativity is essential to the entrepreneurship that gets new businesses started and that sustains the best companies,” stated Harvard Business Review columnists Teresa Amabile and Mukti Khaire.
Most people would agree with that statement, but here’s the problem: creative people are not always pegged for the business world. By nature, they are non-conformist. Few like working in an office, most will question everything you say, and certainly they will see the world with different eyes. Despite your efforts as a manager, the formality and routine of office life can become stifling for them.
Many experts agree that the best way to motivate the creative minds on your team is by letting them be. Give them room to flourish. Give them space to create, and they will take care of the rest. I recently stumbled on a meme that said, “If you ever want to know what a creative person’s mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open. All.The.Time.” With that in mind, if you manage to keep them motivated, you have the makings of a terrific team destined for producing fantastic results, authentic growth hacking, and making great strides toward innovation.
Despite the above argument, here are some ways you can drive out those creative minds from your company:
1. Confuse their need for space with wasting time.
People are motivated by different stimuli, and savvy business leaders understand that. Creative minds, however, are motivated by being allowed to play.
“One of the keys to nurturing a creative workplace is to give all workers a way to voice their ideas,” wrote contributor and entrepreneur Boland Jones. “And by surfacing those ideas with your entire organization, you simultaneously make workers feel valued and spread new, innovative thinking throughout your business.”
Fostering a creative environment is why leading businesses provide pool tables or games rooms as a way to maximize the creative thinking of their employees. Creative people aren’t wasting time when they are throwing darts. Instead, they are working on new ideas.
2. Keep them where you can see them—in the office.
Most successful creative people will explain that they do some of their best work, experience their clearest thinking, and make their smartest decisions when they are outside of the office. As a matter of fact, before starting any project, I go to nature and plan.
Old-school management methods suggest that your employees are most productive if they are in the office, being monitored by their managers. However, if you want to encourage original thinking, grab some large notepads and Sharpies and head to the nearest park for some brainstorming. Rainy day? Take the crew to the nearest coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up and some fun yet productive banter. Some of the best ideas come when you step outside of those office walls.
3. Be judgmental about a person’s skill sets.
Do you have a problem that affects the entire company? Instead of polling your usual team, invite a few unconventional employees into your problem-solving circle. Remember that creative minds come with varied job descriptions, so don’t be surprised when the mailroom manager or CFO has creative suggestions for a new revenue-generating channel.
I was happy to be awarded the “Innovator” award, where I was recognized as one of ten Brazilian female tech entrepreneurs making a difference in the South American country using creativity in marketing and communication. If you see me in an analytical meeting reviewing the company’s performance, though, you’d most likely not imagine that creative side of me.
4. Believe that creative ideas are not hard work—they’re sparks that suddenly appear. And yours will come if you just sit still.
As Canadian best-selling author, Robin S. Sharma, once said, “Your billion-dollar ideas don’t show up in the middle of dramatic distraction. They show up when you have the business and personal discipline to make space for your creative mind to flourish.”
It’s not the creative process that’s hard; it’s trusting the process enough to allow it to happen. Authentic creativity isn’t restricted. It flows. Just ask Brazilian entrepreneur Bel Pesce, who develops courses on innovation and entrepreneurship. Her belief is that while you can dream the impossible, you make it happen through your heart and mind. Perseverance and hard work take you most of the way. Her hard work has paid off—she’s achieved one of the most successful crowdfunding efforts in Brazil to fund her latest projects.
5. Only accept ideas if you feel the market is ready to embrace them.
Creative minds think ahead of their time. The market is rarely ready for what they propose. But that’s precisely why you’re in luck if you find yourself working with one of these fantastic minds. For many business owners and CEOs, “creative minds never sleep,” and bouts of genius often come crashing into brains when doing humdrum things, such as traveling to that next business conference, rummaging through emails while sitting in a bustling coffee shop, or even showering in the morning.
Because innovation can strike at any moment, encourage employees to share the results of those unconventional genius moments. Knowing that you’re open to any and every idea will make people more comfortable and interested in sharing them with you. You never know which channel the next big revenue generation idea will use to come to you.
You can also create an “excuse to get creative.” Tahiana D’Egmont, the CEO of my company, Kickante, established a weekly breakfast ritual in which everyone from the team gets to solve serious company issues. The results have been nothing short of genius. If this “excuse to get creative” did not involve everyone from the company, I suspect it would be yet another brainstorming meeting with like-minded individuals. I believe that when we put in a room a diverse group of people with incredibly different backgrounds, ages, economic status, and life experiences, we achieve results that are really special and can appeal more naturally to a wider audience.
Inviting creativity will inevitably create some chaos, and not all ideas will be worth its investment in time and effort. Nonetheless, that’s precisely where innovative ideas come from; from a place of transformation and constant testing. Being creative is hard work, despite its bohemian reputation. But then again, you can always chase away your next big revenue generating idea for the sake of feeling comfortable. It might work too.
Photo by @dailymuse
Recognized in 2014 as one of the ten most innovative Brazilians in technology, Candice Pasocal has defied cultural and gender odds to participate in many incredible projects and negotiations throughout her career. After serving as international vice president of Putumayo World Music in New York, where she was responsible for launching big names in the music scene worldwide, Candice specialized in the fundraising segment, where she was at the head of major resource funding projects for NGOs in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. She worked with Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, WWF and Amnesty International, among others. In 2013, she founded Kickante and currently serves as chairwoman of the platform, the fastest growing in Brazil.