Can you learn to be creative?
How to encourage creativity at work
Diageo and Ella’s Kitchen are just two companies that have introduced a greater focus on creativity. With programmes aimed at their marketing teams, the plan is to challenge the norm and make them think differently.
If you run your own business, how much emphasis do you place on creativity? Is having a creative workforce important and if so, can creativity be learned? We take a closer look.
What does creativity mean?
The dictionary definition of creativity is: the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness. Perhaps the word imagination is the key.
As children, we’re encouraged to use our imagination. We played with our toys while imagining pretend scenarios for them. We made up stories and listened to stories which enabled a creative mind to flourish.
The argument is that creativity is then curbed, for many of us, in adulthood and when we enter university or the workforce.
Why is creativity important for your business?
As a small business, flexibility is important. You have to adapt to stay current in the market, so being able to think creatively, could help you to see new opportunities and save you in challenging times.
Other ways creativity can help your business include:-
- To keep you at the forefront of your competition
- Understanding your customer’s point of view. The more creative you are the more you’ll be able to shift your mind away from a fixed perception
- A higher tolerance for risk. To be creative, you have to take risks. The more you do this, the less you’ll be held back by a fear of failure
- Greater leadership capabilities. A creative approach can mean new leadership techniques and better problem solving
- More resilience. When those inevitable stressful periods arise, you’re able to bounce back faster instead of getting derailed.
At Birds Eye, a shift to more creative marketing has helped boost average ROI by 24% and been “one of the core foundations” of its “recovery as a brand”, said Steve Challouma, Bird’s Eye’s Marketing Director.
If creativity can have such an effect on the performance of your business, maybe it’s time to encourage your team to get creative.
Can creativity be learned?
According to Bebrainfit.com, there are things we can all do to improve our creativity. Perhaps you, and your staff, can all find one of more of these helpful.
When you daydream, your mind is unconstrained. You might imagine sitting on a lounger, looking out to sea with the hot sun on your back or you might imagine eating a chocolate cake as big as an elephant. Whatever floats your boat.
To improve your daydreaming, limit the amount of time you spend on social media, your laptop and in front of the TV.
To doodle is to draw absentmindedly. The drawings can be rough and not polished. It’s another way that your mind is allowed to wander.
Take a look at surrealist art
By surrounding yourself with examples of surrealism, it pushes you to consider an alternative view. Why not add some Picasso and Dali works of art as the wallpaper of your laptop or phone. Art has been found to evoke emotions and inspire us, and improve creativity.
Pick up a colouring book
Not only do painting and colouring relax us and improve our state of mind, they can also help with creativity. If you don’t think you’re very creative, sit down and do some colouring and you might change your mind.
You have to choose the colours you’re using and how one colour will sit against another. It might just show you that you have a little creativity just desperate to get out.
If colouring and art aren’t the way forward for you, pick up a pen and get writing.
One option is to keep a diary as it gives you a chance to explore your feelings and try out possible answers to problems you might be facing. You could try writing a story aimed at children. They won’t question the level of reality, so let your mind go wild.
Declutter your workspace
Science has shown that too much clutter kills creativity. A messy workspace can be unhealthy, stressful and can damage concentration levels too.
Read absurdist fiction
Books such as, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and A Series of Unfortunate Events are full of meaningless actions and events which make us question existing concepts and values.
Absurdist fiction is also full of irony and dark humour. By immersing yourself in stories such as these, you use your brain in different ways.
Lastly, do as children do and ask questions about the world around you. Learn about interesting facts and investigate the world and your creativity will improve.
Children (mostly) want to learn, see and touch everything around them (much to the frustration of many adults who are with them).
Challenge yourself to be more curious and ask a question a day. Why not seek the answers to these as a start? The answers can be found below if you’re not in a seeking mood.
- What noise does a cheetah make?
- What is a group of camels called?
Accounting to support new opportunities
Question answers: A cheetah makes a chirrup (bird-like tweet) noise because it can’t roar. A group of camels is called a caravan. Now you know.
When creativity flows and new business opportunities open up, it’s good to know you have a trusted team to support your finances.
Despite being Chartered accountants, we’re a creative lot and we love helping businesses like yours to grow.
About Jon Pryse-Jones
Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.
An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”
Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board. “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says. He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.