Creativity is something that many companies and employees strive for in the workplace. It is an opportunity for people to think differently and build skills in various areas. But creativity isn’t always something that comes naturally. It's something that requires teamwork and effort and may even involve a change in thinking altogether.

But even with that thought, having creativity as part of a company dynamic is well worth implementing, because originality leads to innovation. And this, in turn, makes unique outcomes that build relationships, drive success, and put you ahead of the competition.

Here are some easy ways you can cultivate creativity and innovation in the workplace and take your firm to another level.

Make Things Fun

Whether you work in a call center — or call centre if in the U.K. — or ad agency, ideas will only start flowing when they are allowed to. Making things fun is a great way to let the mind think more clearly. Nobody is good at being innovative when there is a tense atmosphere and mounting pressure to “get the job done.” So, it might be time to be a little more laid back and fun to create a happy atmosphere.

Being stressed just produces brain fog and burn out. So, to really get those ideas flowing, also try to keep things positive. This means no putting people down, always listening to others, and being generally encouraging. And that stays true whether you are dealing with people in the office or organizing remote employees.

Doing this will really help with people’s mental health, too, and will add to your company’s good reputation.

Trust People

Nobody likes being spied on with every little decision they make. In fact, the more that people are watched, the more mistakes they make and the more restricted they feel. So, it’s important to give employees autonomy to let them develop their own ways of working.

Say that the creative team has been assigned a task to research and create a short film on the top three alternatives to Trello. Instead of breathing down their neck and sending them constant notes on what you think is best, let them make their own decisions. That way, people won’t be making mistakes and worrying they aren’t doing the right thing. Instead, they will be making something interesting and engaging.

This also means calling fewer check-in meetings and encouraging more arts-based learning methods. Try to stay away from things like PowerPoints or presentations that talk at people. Alternatively, inspiring people to contribute and develop thoughts is a great way to get ideas flowing.

Image: 10 Digital

Be Supportive

Have you ever heard of a compliment sandwich? It’s a constructive way of giving feedback that involves a compliment, the feedback, and then another compliment. It’s basically a positive way of providing knowledge and telling people how to improve their work without being so harsh that it crushes their creativity.

The point of it is to show that you are supportive of people’s efforts and ideas whilst still showing there is room to grow. Of course, not every single idea will be amazing. But we have all had those moments in life when our ideas have been shunned and ridiculed. And when this happens, all people do is shrink away and not contribute at all.

It doesn’t matter if people are talking about Platform as a Service (PaaS) ideas or thoughts on website presentation. It’s imperative to be supportive when it comes to creativity. Without the right backing, an innovative idea quickly falls flat.

Don’t Let Toxic People Win

We have all met those that just can’t be happy for others or put people down at any given chance. But you know what? There just isn’t space for those people in the modern workplace. So, when coming across them, it’s time to pluck up the courage to not let them in. Because even if they make lots of money, they do nothing for the creativity or the morale of a company.

Let’s say you are having a team meeting on how to promote your latest cloud automation service and you are constantly having to defend yourself. Or you feel you can’t speak out about your ideas because of the way one person treats you. It’s time to take that toxic person to one side and discuss their behavior.

Otherwise, you may find it doesn’t matter how many project management tools you throw at the situation, the problem is too deep to fix and the creativity never gets a chance to bloom.

Make a Creative Space

An actual physical space can make a huge difference to people’s creativity levels. If an office is a simple white room with a few computers in, that’s not going to conjure up much innovation; especially compared to, say, an open, colorful room filled with sofas and posters.

Filling a room with joy can only be a good thing and it won’t be long before the energy of the space is reflected onto workers. That way, it doesn’t matter if you are talking about IaaS or new products. Having an inspirational space to work in will make it much easier to get those ideas flowing.

If it isn’t possible to give the office a total makeover, you can always encourage people to add a bit of personality to it instead. This can be through bringing in photos, putting up posters, or even popping a plant or two in the corner. It’s also important to encourage people to physically move around a little more in the office. Sitting in one space for hours won’t help the creativity one bit.

You never know, making a more creative space might even mean you feel more confident when it comes to making better company deals, like when going through the purchase ordering process or talking with clients.

Image: Gallup

With the right knowhow, inspiring creativity in the workplace is easily done. It might take a few changes to both attitudes and physical space. But when you see the positive changes it has on your company, you will realize how much it’s worth it.