Marketing Organization
Organization Design and Effectiveness

How to Maximize Creativity Organization Wide

Averi Melcher
December 21, 2015

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True organizational creativity lives in that sweet spot between established boundaries and giving employees too much freedom.

In order to foster more creativity in your company, you must first look at your organization’s current state and internal structure. Then, determine goals that align with your industry and each member’s creative style to create an environment for divergent thinking and innovative solutions.

At the CMO Club Fall Innovation and Inspiration Summit, Chris Bolman, Director of Integrated Marketing at Percolate, and Shonodeep Modak, Marketing Director of GE Power & Water, hosted a session that highlighted 3 different ways to think about and maximize creativity in your organization:

  1. Vision of a Problem

Have a vision for not only your brand’s upcoming marketing challenges but also the internal barriers that may exist for employees as they attempt to overcome these challenges.

As the leader of your team, think about how you can remove the constraints in your organization and allow ideas to flow freely. For example, you could have everyone disconnect for a brainstorming hour or use gamification to engage creative thinkers and facilitate friendly competition.

Conversely, there may need to be more constraints in order for team members to create actionable solutions for a specific problem. Identifying the best way to present the problem will allow for you to set your team up in a way that creates the best output.

  1. Create a Process

Even art has a formula.

To create one for your organization, you must first define the goals that will help your team achieve maximum creativity. Deepening the knowledge of your team with training and education will build engagement and spark idea generation in even the least creative of thinkers.

Recognize that each team member may have a different system that works best for him or her. Encourage individuals to discover their own formula for creativity by focusing on the outcome, rather than the exact way they reached that conclusion.

  1. Include Divergent Thinking

Every organization has those very creative individuals that find the connection between disparate ideas more quickly that others. However, it’s important to push everyone out of their comfort zones a little, providing the permission and culture to generate new ideas without risk.

If and when failure occurs, don’t celebrate it, but learn from it. Work with your team to identify the main objectives learned from the situation and use more creative thinking to overcome the failure with a new solution.

Using analytics to track success is vital for encouraging creativity that results both in innovative ideas and positive engagement from consumers. Creative people can be ‘allergic’ to data, reports, etc., so you may need to give rationale for incorporating quantifiable feedback with subjective creativity.

As the leader, start with an established process and gradually encourage divergent thinking in your team. As you watch their behavior, allow each team members’ creative process to guide your future strategy for maximizing creativity.

At the end of the day, it’s about finding great ideas that push the envelope while providing ROI for the overall marketing initiative.

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