Organizational culture has two components. First, the company has to establish its cultural identity. Then, managers have to get everyone on board. That means an agency or department needs to be unified by a common set of values, beliefs and goals that support productivity and innovation. An office that provides a good balance of stimulation and space personalization, for example, can increase productivity and morale considerably. Organizational culture can be particularly important to creative staffers, who often invest themselves personally in their work.
Basic assumptions are the hardest to see, but it’s the basic assumptions of an organization’s culture that produce a real affect on the creativity of its members. Creative organizations have basic assumptions about creativity being a process, rather than a eureka moment, or that not all conflict needs to be resolved because sometimes it can yield more innovative thinking. They share beliefs that creativity thrives under constraints, or that the best work is done using constantly evolving teams. Sharing ideas openly, allowing for limited risk taking, and celebrating failures as learning opportunities are all basic beliefs of creative organizations. Faced with this dilemma, many people approach understanding culture the way Justice Potter Stewart approached understanding pornography – they’ll claim to know it when they see it.
You may recognize a creative culture when you see it, but you won’t truly understand it until you dig below the surface.
Organisations that promote independence, inadvertently also encourage ownership and responsibility. Employees feel empowered in these cultures and give their best to their work. Eliminating red tape and micromanagement allows creative people to do what they do best.
Working with Creative minds
It has been proven that working with creative peers can increase your own creative output, while making work more enjoyable. This seems pretty obvious, considering that brands attract talent to themselves by focussing on “having the brightest minds in the industry.” This only works though if people feel like they have freedom and are not being constantly supervised. The environment has to be conducive for trial and error.
Creativity needs to trickle down
Innovation needs to be encouraged by the top management and this attitude needs to trickle down to the intern. An organisation run by individuals who appreciate and foster creativity will have a higher likelihood of not just being successful but even revolutionary. Employees will not strive to innovate if they think that it might be frowned upon or even ignored. Build an organisation that makes people want more from themselves
Let ideas mingle and breed
Harry Blearly while trying to improve the efficiency of guns back in 1912, discovered stainless steel. Gmail was built by Paul Buchheit for Google while he was working on Google Groups. A lot of great innovations have happened when people were building something else altogether. You can learn a lot from trials and errors and these learnings can be applied to new projects. Allowing employees to interact and share ideas lets you find creative solutions to all challenges.
Let your employees play
Children have the most creative minds in the world. They learn and perform best when they are allowed to play and experiment. Applying this to an organisation is simple. Organisations that allow employees to create by allowing them to come up with their own methods, innovate faster and better. These are organisations that encourage everything from building prototypes with scraps to allowing you to dress up in costumes. Any process that gives you the freedom to think out of the box, will help employees push their own boundaries.
Set your own goal
Being free to do as you wish does not necessarily imply goofing off. In fact, the freedom to make your own decisions pays off most handsomely when people set their own creative goals. For example, the famous inventor Thomas A. Edison set the goal of having a minor invention every 10 days and a major invention every six months. This kept Edison focused on being creative—and, with over 1,000 patents in his name, he clearly did an outstanding job of meeting his goals. We are not talking about strict external pressure to be creative, which rarely results in anything positive. However, creativity is aided when people strive to meet their own difficult goals for achieving creativity.
Multinationals have attributed a part of their success to have multiple ethnic and cultural groups in the organisation. It has been proven that being exposed to diverse view points and perspectives aids in creative thinking. The easiest way to bring in diversity is to hire people from different walks of life, people who are not similarly creative. Not having diversity in your organisation can decidedly impede growth and success.
Having fun goes beyond your token foosball table and dart board. Fun as an ideology needs to be ingrained in your culture. Its only when the two meet that your game room goes beyond being a recruitment prop. Having monthly team building activities at office, encouraging groups – dance group, cricket group, football group, etc, allowing employees to bring their hobbies and passions to work. One of the simplest thing that can be done is making your office pet friendly. Pets reduce stress and also give your employees an opportunity to have fun at work.
As the HR you have the opportunity to redefine how your company does business and with these simple tips you can create a culture of innovation and creativity. If you are an applicant, use these as a reference to assess the companies you are applying to.