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How to identify and challenge your creative people

03 Jun 2011

How to identify and challenge your creative people

Tough times can sometimes reveal a positive side. The recession made many companies discover or re-discover that creativity was a crucial business asset. Creative thinking generates innovation and sets your company in gear for greater growth. However, two conditions apply: knowing how to identify who your creative people are and knowing how to get their creative juices flowing!

This does not mean that the business environment must turn into a complete breeding ground for creatives. Instead, determine who the creative types are and encourage them to think in new ways. "Give all employees the chance to express how creative they can be," says Patrick Leguide, founder of Central Test.

 
But what does being creative mean? Leguide says, "It's about going off the beaten track and finding new non-traditional ways to get somewhere." Being creative is not only about coming up with original ideas. "Before any Eureka moment of discovery, you must have asked yourself the right questions," adds Leguide. In other words, to find an innovative solution, people must be able to pursue a goal, pose questions and think about things from unusual angles.

Observe and Identify Your Creative Staff

First of all, to locate where the creative vibes are coming from, you must establish a policy that recognises and rewards creativity. The Central Test founder says, "Managers must understand that they are motors to the creative process and must not apply the brakes."

Also, using personality tests can be an effective starting point. Certain personality traits, such as being independent, intuitive, experimental, and adaptable can indicate whether or not a person is predisposed to being creative. "This does not mean that very rational people are not creative. They simply need to be stimulated more," says Leguide.

Some creativity tests are also designed to measure how well someone comes up with new ideas. These tests are not often used in companies, as electronic versions do not yet exist. "You can also observe, give challenges, and run brainstorming sessions to encourage the creative process," Leguide suggests.

Nourish Creativity

To spark creativity, you must teach your team about the necessity to innovate. "Do not make fun of any ideas, no matter how far-fetched they are," adds Leguide. Make creativity part of company strategy and take it into account when evaluating employee performance. "You may even want to integrate a creativity bonus for people who hold key positions that require them to innovate," says Leguide.

'How can we get more traffic to our website?' 'How can we find new distribution channels?' 'How can we make our services more entertaining?' By presenting challenges like these to your employees, you will boost their creativity and involve them directly in finding company solutions.

The Central Test founder also recommends, "Break out of your company routine by running brainstorming sessions, organising excursions, or holding a job swap day. This lets employees, for one whole day, leave their workstations and discover other jobs in the company. These initiatives can fuel creativity."

How else can you stimulate the creative thinking that leads to innovation? Put different types of people together in teams, give them a chance to communicate with external consultants, use tools designed for thinking and sharing like suggestion boxes, social media, and discussion forums.

Sandrine Guinot, NaoPresse