Think of the last job description you wrote. Did you include creativity? And if you did, be honest: was it based on the need to check a box? If so, we’ve got some interesting news for you. Businesses are on the precipice of massive disruption from technology and AI, and if you want to disrupt your industry rather than be disrupted, you’ll need to make creativity an integral part of your organization. But not to worry—technology can help with that, too.
Why Creativity Is Important on Tech Aware Teams
The tech revolution will see the end of some job tiers, but what many businesses are worried about is tech doing away with their entire business model. Is there a good chance you’ll have to revolutionize your business model to stay relevant? Absolutely.
That’s why fostering creativity and innovation within your team is more important than ever: it’ll help you find areas that have been overlooked by the competition. It could encourage your team to produce better iterations during your product sprints. It may even help you build a more capable big data initiative.
Most startups (and many larger companies) have adopted a culture of continuous innovation. Combined with the way big data and AI are transforming how we think about business decisions, all fields are ripe for disruption. And nurturing your team’s creativity means you get closer to that ideal continuous innovation, and reduce the risk you’ll miss the next big thing.
How To Improve Creativity and Encourage It (On All Your Teams)
Sure you want your marketing team to be creative. It makes sense for sales to get in on that action, too. But what about your finance team? Legal? The answer is yes—encouraging everyone to be creative, regardless of department, is key to transforming the three biggest factors affecting your bottom line:
- employee retention
- client churn
- finding new clients
Notice which one is first on that list. Hiring and training employees is a considerable cost to any business. And it turns out that encouraging employees to fulfill their creative impulses creates a culture that helps retain the team you’ve hired.
The good news is, fostering that creative company culture isn’t as tough as you might think. First, you make time for innovation. Once that happens, you’ve got a few more things you can do to encourage those creative moments across all departments.
Make Business Goals Clear
Your employees are a huge part of your business goals—that’s why everyone needs to understand how their contributions help your bottom line. When business thrives, everyone prospers, and that’s great for keeping up company morale and boosting engagement. Embrace individual contributions and tie them to your business goals.
Action item: Share out your organization’s goals to align all your team members, and focus brainstorms and new ideas around meeting those goals.
Look to Your People
The different personalities and viewpoints on your teams could be just the insight you need to find your company’s next big thing. Studies show that diversity on your team increases the chances your team can offer the type of insights required for that bright, new (hopefully disruptive!) idea. That’s because when you bring multiple viewpoints together, it’s easier to see when an idea has promise, and how it can do the most good for the most people.
Action item: Create cross-functional, diverse teams when brainstorming new ideas.
Keep Up With Ideas
Each time a department presents a new idea, logging it into a shared document can help trigger creative thoughts from other members of your team. Even if ideas aren’t immediately viable, you don’t want to lose track of things that might work later with a little bit of finessing (or a different technology).
Action item: Create a “new ideas” document on your shared network or Google Drive, and let people know it’s there. Have it open at each meeting to update or add to it.
What To Do When You Hit a Wall
The pressure of continuous innovation can, on occasion, cause some serious blocks. Once you hit that wall, it’s time to rebuild your team’s creative energy.
- Focus on smaller goals – You can’t innovate on everything all at once. Each time you gather your team for a brainstorming session, choose one achievable goal. To reach it, your team may pull out a brand new idea, or flesh out an idea that’s already saved on your shared list.
- Start early – Fatigue can block your team’s best ideas. If you make time for innovation first thing in the morning when everyone is fresh and ready for the day, you’ll get a lot farther than that 4pm meeting everyone hates.
- Facilitate collaboration – Silos are suitable for incubating some ideas, but overall, you need to encourage interactions with different teams—and team members—to build a free flow of ideas.
Leverage AI to Enhance Creativity
The presence of AI may cause some jobs to disappear, but there’s still a need for humans on your team—and there always will be. But each team has tasks that drain away time that could be spent on higher level tasks. Finance is bogged down in consistency. Legal is slogging through complicated legalese. Sales is spending too much time trying to keep up with the details and formalities of your sales contracts. Your talent is spending a lot of time on rote, repetitive tasks, which take away from what they do best—problem-solving and innovating.
When you adopt a smarter strategy for those tasks, it frees up your team for higher level tasks. As the tech takes over some of the day to day tasks taking up your team’s time, you may be able to free up valuable time for innovation.
P.S. If you’re ready to embrace AI to get your contracts in shape, you should take a look at IntelAgree. We’re reshaping the way businesses handle contracts, making them faster and easier. If you want to see what that looks like for your team, schedule a demo.