Innovation leads to growth. Creativity fuels innovation. Here are my tips for small creative activities that will make all the difference in your work!
Innovation is of utmost importance when looking to thrive in today’s business world. FastCompany tells us that "The company that builds a culture of innovation is on the path to growth. The company that fails to innovate is on the road to obsolescence."
So, what is "innovation?"
Many leaders discuss innovation in the context of dots. Throughout his companies, Sir Richard Branson uses the mantra of "A-B-C-D," which stands for "Always Be Connecting the Dots." The video below provides a visual explanation of the status quo versus an innovative approach, using the dots of ideas all around us.
Understanding innovation is one thing, but to discover and connect new dots we need creativity. Creativity helps us see new dots, while innovation connects them and helps convert them into successful business practices.
An organization’s capacity for innovation is actually defined as creativity multiplied by execution. Multiplication is used because if there’s no creativity or execution, the capacity for innovation doesn’t exist.
We spend our entire day executing. But how do we increase our creativity to ensure results are more innovative? Here are 8 simple ways to add creativity to your work day, elevating your opportunity for innovation, leading to increased growth within your organization.
- Get out of the office and work from a different location. Whether it’s a cafe, a peaceful room in your home, a local co-working space or even switching desks with a colleague, this new perspective will open your mind to ideas that are outside your conscious when you remain in familiar surroundings.
- Write or draw in a journal. Intentional journaling taps into the left side of our brain, helping to remove blocks and provide more clarity to understand ourself and the world around us.
- Take 15 minutes to pause and be present. Put down your phone and any other distractions and just sit somewhere in the world observing what you see and thinking about your connection to it. This could be while sipping coffee in the morning or on a park bench later in the day. Remind yourself of the pace of life without technology, and identify behaviors you may not have noticed without this break.
- Step into nature. Go for a run, walk, or hike. Just from being in nature, we can improve short term memory, restore energy, relieve stress, elevate our senses, improve focus, and increase our creativity. Spending time in nature is a one-stop-shop for better results at work.
- Go to a neighborhood event. Meet some new people, engage in conversation, and listen to other viewpoints in order to increase your perspective on the world and your work. Start with event schedules for neighborhood libraries, nearby museums, and local nonprofits. Find events that pique your interest and you already have a conversation starter.
- Listen to podcasts. Podcasts can be found in countless locations throughout the web and the range of topics they cover is even more robust. Whether you’re listening to current news, industry thought leaders, a true crime story, learning something new, getting mindfulness tips, or unlimited other subjects, podcasts are guaranteed to expand your thinking and open up new possibilities.
- Play. A game, sport, with others, or pets. Playing stimulates learning in our brains by elevating creativity, critical thinking, and curiosity. Some offices have ping pong or foosball tables, some provide play dough or Legos, others have dogs who come to work every day. These actions aren’t just to attract new talent, but to help minds of employees think in different ways between executing work tasks.
Try out at least one of these creativity exercises in your work week and take notice of the new thinking and ideas that emerge. By stimulating creativity in our lives, we allow the brain to connect dots previously undiscovered, and therefore successfully boost the business through innovation.