1. Encourage Free Thinking
We often continue doing what we've been doing because it continues to work. But free thinking is central to keeping your business contemporary, relevant and profitable. It’s all about thinking of things in new ways, leaving behind old, outdated models, and discovering new ones. Create a culture in your business in which employees are encouraged to think freely and express their ideas.
2. Schedule Brainstorming Sessions
Sometimes the best way to encourage creativity is to schedule it into the day. This might seem counter intuitive, but the more creative thought that can be scheduled, the more likely it is to happen. Set aside time for a weekly brainstorming session that involves all your employees. Encourage employees from other departments to join in for a fresh perspective.
3. Get Out of the Office
Take a field trip by taking your employees to visit other companies, conferences or even just parks. Getting out of the office mixes up the daily routine nicely and everyone can get out of their everyday comfort zone and into a space where new thoughts and ideas can boom.
4. Communicate Openly
No matter how creative your employees are, you’ll never know if you’re not talking with them about their ideas. Talk openly with them, both formally and informally, about what can be done better, what can be improved, what can be done differently and what their overall ideas are for changing the business.
5. Evaluate, Measure, Track
As we are putting our finishing touches to 2015 planning we always incorporate two to three new ideas per year! Get you employees to join in and come up with creative ways to improve the business, change processes or bring about other improvements, make sure to evaluate the changes over time after you've implemented them. The evaluation process is just as important as the implementation stage, since it will give you and your employees a sense of what works, what doesn't and why. It will also give you the chance to fine-tune new procedures in order to make them work even more effectively.
Creative business practices can seem time consuming, but in the long run by making creativity a priority, your business—and your employees—will flourish.