4 Recipes for Enterprise Creativity
By Allison Howen
Creativity is a fickle thing – it can strike at any moment, and just as fast as it comes it can disappear.
This inconsistency poses a challenge for enterprises, as creativity is an essential ingredient for innovation and everyday tasks like blogging and social media. Even though enterprises can’t manufacture creativity, they can produce an atmosphere and culture that is conducive to it. Check out three recipes for workplace creativity that can motivate even the most mundane workplaces.
Cooking up a Creative Environment
To create an environment that inspires, enterprises should start by getting rid of white walls and cubicles in favor of bright colors and open work spaces.
Luis Salazar, co-founder and CEO at Jobaline and a former executive at Yahoo and Microsoft, notes that a unique environment can have a positive impact on creativity inside an office.
“I am a firm believer in open spaces at work and mixing diverse functions in common work areas,” said Salazar. “This has worked very well in the past and in the present time at Jobaline.com. We even have large screens, all with cameras where we can start a video conference at any given point, including our team members in NY, Argentina or Uruguay.”
Salazar also notes that Jobaline has whiteboards everywhere, and the company even provides desks that have glass tops so employees can quickly jot down ideas at any workspace. (Offering employee access to mind-mapping solutions like Mindjet, Coggle, MindNode and others may work to encourage and improve this brainstorming process.) Even though brainstorming is an effective strategy when done individually, it can sometimes be more effective when done as a team.
The winning sneakers from Duda’s design competition.
Catering to Camaraderie
Bringing together a mix of employees is essential for most projects, as a variety of skills and talents (from design to marketing) are usually required to get a new project off the ground. This is why team-building activities should not be overlooked.
Like many tech companies, one of the ways mobile website solution Duda gets employees to work together is by hosting a hackathon, where, in this case, teams have two days to come up with an idea to improve the company’s offering and build out at least a rough version to show that it could work.
“Some of the best features we have in our product today came out of previous hackathons,” said Duda CEO Itai Sadan. “Giving employees the ability to be creative with some guidelines can lead to amazing results.”
In addition to holding events to foster creativity, enterprises can also hold gatherings for employees to celebrate creative success. TouchCommerce, for example, recently held an ice-shaving social. According to Director of Product Marketing Marina Kalika, this event allowed the team to “cool off” after a successful product launch.
Team-building can definitely impact workplace creativity, however, so can competitiveness.
3 Creative Offices to Envy
Check out three other companies boosting employee creativity in innovative ways at wsm.co/3creative.
Stirring up Healthy Competition
There are a variety of ways enterprises can produce competition in their offices, from launching a serious sales contest to hosting an easy-going challenge, like a trivia game.
Duda opted for the easy-going recipe when the company decided to launch a sneaker design competition (see image). The competition asked employees to use a DIY tool from Converse to create a sneaker that included the company colors and logo. Then, employees voted on the winning design.
“Every employee got a pair of the winning sneakers. Some might have expected that the winning design would come from one of our graphic designers or marketers, yet the winner actually belonged to one of our developers,” said Sadan. “This coincides with one of my beliefs that creativity can come from any person within the company and should not be the task of a specific individual or group.”
When competitions, team-building exercises and modern workspaces aren’t fostering creativity, enterprises may want to look for ways to improve individual employee happiness.
Keeping Chefs at Their Best
Sometimes creativity can only be encouraged when employees are satisfied in their own lives. TouchCommerce recognizes this, which is why the enterprise puts an emphasis on employee health and happiness.
According to TouchCommerce CMO George Skaff, the company offers free gym memberships to all employees working on-site at its headquarters, provides a gym inside the company and hosts employee volleyball games each week.
“At TouchCommerce we put the health of the employees first,” said Skaff. “We believe that healthy employees are a good thing for both the employees and for the company, which will lead to fostering creativity.”
In addition, Skaff notes that employee volleyball games are a great way to get people from different departments to meet and work together – ignoring departmental divides.
The Secret Ingredients
At the end of the day, there are thousands of ways enterprises can boost employee creativity. The challenge, however, is finding what clicks with your employees.