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foster team's creativity

Creativity is a key resource in any successful team’s problem-solving toolbox. New projects bring together many different kinds of people, with a diverse array of perspectives and strengths. Creating an environment that fosters not only your own creativity but that of your team as a unit can be tricky and unintuitive at times. Small groups thrive when everyone is comfortable and participates. Here are some tips to facilitate that dynamic and get your team’s creative juices flowing.:

Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming sessions are a tried and true way of teasing out new ideas. Have your team gather in a comfortable, neutral space. If the office conference room doesn’t inspire, a change of venue like a neighborhood coffee shop can put people in a new headspace. Break problems down to their smallest components and encourage your team to share ideas as they come – even if it’s just popped into their head. An off-hand thought may transform into a fresh innovation.

Autonomy

Responsibility and control kindle confidence, and allow team members to put themselves more fully into a task or project. Break projects into portions that can be overseen by individual team members. If you have a gauge of your team’s individual strengths and talents, try pairing them with a role that will feed off the team members’ personal strengths. A developing designer should be given the opportunity to apply their knowledge to spatial or engagement issues. An engineer who loves puzzles can be asked to incorporate that strategic thinking with the task at hand.

Connection

A team that gets along can address problems more effectively. Find an activity or outing outside the confines of your assignment that will engage folks and keep them at ease while building up your relationship. This will change depending on the group and their interests. Maybe rec sports are the answer, or trivia night at a local pub. Whatever the outing, make sure it is something everybody would like to do. Take suggestions!

Get Inspired

Are there similar cases and problems that groups in your industry have faced? Creativity is often inspired by work that’s come before. Send your team digging for solutions and situations others have faced that are similar. Discerning others’ methods can provide a helpful opportunity to compare and contrast real-world solutions to your own project’s context and particular needs. Like Brainstorming, a gathered set of tangible ideas allows focus and connections to be drawn instead of working from scratch.

Creativity is an extension of ourselves. By giving your team the space and footing they need to put themselves into a project, and you’ll grow together and see colorful returns. Go forth and expand your palette.

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I recently read an alarming statistic in Entrepreneur Magazine: 55% of employed U.S. adults would leave their traditional jobs to be self-employed if they could be sure of their financial stability. Why? What is the overwhelming reason people give for their dissatisfaction? The answer: Lack of creativity.

Back view of businessman drawing colorful business ideas on wall

Photo Credit: Udemy.com

A full 36% of employed adults want to leave their current position in order to seek a more creative line of work.  Realistically, it would be difficult to sustain such a large creative-heavy workforce and most people realize it is very difficult to make it as an artist (or chef or photographer), while paying the bills. So, what can the creatively-stifled workforce do?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Pursue Creative Hobbies (and apply them to work)

Even if your work itself is a bit of a drag, you can still foster your creative side by pursuing stimulating hobbies. Look for classes at your local community center or offers on sites like Groupon or Living Social Deals who offer discounts on things like “painting and wine night” or photography classes. If you have a creative passion, keep at it! And don’t be afraid to share it with your office mates. For instance, if you like writing, volunteer to write the quarterly newsletter or, if you enjoy cooking, make a point of making a dish for the next lunch meeting (I’m sure everyone would appreciate it!).

  1. Keep a Journal (or doodle)

One great way to keep the creative juices flowing (no matter if you’re a writer or not) is to keep a journal. That way, when an out-of-the box idea strikes, you can jot it down quickly. Write down everything—don’t discriminate! Sometimes a whim can turn into a great idea. Your notes can be work-related or not—either way, it’s healthy to write things down so you don’t stew about them or become frustrated if you forget your brilliant idea. Alternatively, if you prefer doodling, go for it! Doodling can be a great creative outlet and allows some people to de-stress.  Also, for visual folks, doodling is a great way to map out ideas.

  1. Take Breaks

A tired mind has trouble getting anything done. If you find your productivity slipping at work, seek a little creativity to jolt you back to life. You could knit, sketch, play with a yo-yo, read, or even photoshop a picture of your dog for a while!  Anything to get your mind back in gear to tackle the next project.

  1. Join a Meetup Group

Sometimes, creativity needs encouragement. If you’re truly interested in honing a passion of yours (writing, photography, calligraphy), find a local Meetup Group. Meetup is a website dedicated to bringing people together with similar hobbies and interests. It’s free to join and the possibilities are endless! If you’re interested in dream interpretation or French or Salsa dancing, there’s a group out there for you!

Don’t stifle your creative side! Let it flow. And if these suggestions just aren’t enough, then maybe a creative career is up your alley. If you’re thinking about making a major career change, UXL would be happy to offer some guidance and support.

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