How important is it for employees to have creative and innovative thinking abilities, and how can companies use training to encourage these competencies?
For managers focused on day-to-day productivity above all else, creativity, inspiration and innovation among employees may seem more “nice to have” than “need to have.” Recent years, however, have brought a change in thinking about what types of skills make workplaces functional and generate value. As creativity’s stock in the business world rises, you may be wondering how to encourage and sharpen innovative thinking among your employees. Fortunately, training material development has kept up with the times, and there are courses available to sharpen your team’s creative prowess.
Putting Creativity to Work
How does creative thinking turn into dollars and cents? In a Forbes column, leadership expert Peter Himmelman explained that creative ideas have a strong correlation with flexibility and the ability to deal with change. Organizations today are dealing with rapidly changing conditions. Factors such as technological development and disruptive business models are forcing legacy companies to constantly remake themselves or risk falling behind. When employees are capable of advanced creative thinking, they can master these changes.
“Companies that were full of creative thinkers were also ahead of their peer firms in financial measures.”
McKinsey & Company affirmed the importance of creativity on a financial stability level as well as from a strategic perspective. To determine the bottom-line impact of imaginative thinking, McKinsey studied the marketing industry, a space where creativity can be quantified through markers such as the number of Cannes Lions awards a firm wins. The data bore out that the companies full of creative thinkers were also ahead of their peer firms in financial measures, growing their revenue, producing returns for shareholders and building net value.
Noting that it can be hard to encourage creativity in business settings driven by quarterly results and bottom-line pressure, McKinsey urged companies to implement innovation-first models from the executive level down. The marketing firms that showed the most consistent and successful deployments of creative thinking, for example, have top leaders who can act as firsthand models of creative thinking. These are people who act in line with their priorities and practice creativity in their own day-to-day work, in addition to encouraging it in their employees.
One concern you may face when encouraging creativity in your workplace is the question of project timelines — does innovative thinking slow down the relentless churn of launching and completing new projects? As McKinsey’s report pointed out, the split between creative companies and fast ones is false. Indeed, the most innovative organizations are fearless about putting their new ideas into practice quickly. Displaying a rigorous approach to decision-making, these businesses match their bold ideas with clear and realistic objective-setting, knowing how to turn a new concept into a fully developed strategy in no time.
Encouraging Creative Thinking Through Training
At first glance, training to improve creativity may seem like a contradiction in terms. If your workers aren’t innovative thinkers, is there any use in training them to change their style? Fortunately, the answer is yes — creativity is a skill like any other and can be improved through a focused program of learning and professional development.
Training in creative thinking and innovation can have effects that go beyond encouraging employees to generate and implement more competitive business ideas. When workers have been instructed on how to express themselves openly in a professional setting, they may also gain an improved ability to collaborate. A workplace where creativity is a normal part of conducting business may also be more enjoyable to work in on a day-to-day basis, potentially helping with morale and retention.
As with any area of professional development, there are many kinds of training dedicated to creative thinking. The following are a few of these options:
- Innovate & Create: Leverage the Power of Generations: This course encourages employees to collaborate across age groups, combining ideas and priorities to generate new ideas and cope with change. By default, workers may not find it easy to integrate ideas spanning generation gaps, which can limit their ability to innovate.
- Eliminate Barriers to Creative Thinking: When employees emerge from school and enter the workforce, they may have taken on rigid thought and decision-making habits rather than being attuned to innovation. This course treats creativity as something that can be reclaimed with the right kind of focus, and helps workers make the necessary changes to their assumptions and routines.
- Driving Agility: The Only Path to a Positive Future: One of the most important applications of creative thinking in the workplace involves keeping up with change in industries. This course assists workers in getting over change aversion and deploying new ideas that solve the problems created by shifting models and requirements.
Creative thinkers can be made rather than born. With the right combination of training courses, your organization can boost its commitment to innovative ideas and a more adaptable, fast-moving business culture. Due to the fact that less creative companies may fall behind those that internalize innovation, investing in such materials is a valuable contribution to the bottom line, now and in the future.