WYOMING BUSINESS TIPS
A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Entrepreneur Network, a partnership of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Anya Petersen-Frey, Regional Director, MBA, PhD (abd), Certified Global Business Professional
What does creativity in the workplace really mean?
Creativity might be defined in different ways, I define it as the thought process that leads to value added innovation. Creativity is asking "why", rather than accepting the status quo. Wayne Rogers, formerly of MASH television fame, left full-time acting to become an entrepreneur. He has owned vineyards, restaurants, and produced plays. In an interview in the August edition of Success magazine he shares the importance of taking a creative approach to business rather than an administrative one: "If you take a creative approach, you question every step of the process. ....If you do that it will release imaginative solutions; that's what inventors do. If you approach the business from an administrative angle, you take what is served up to you. You do it and don't think about alternative ways to do it."
No matter what the size of your business, even if it is a one person operation, an atmosphere of innovation can flourish. As an owner, find mentors and other business owners with which to share ideas. Develop a solution centered mind-set that allows you to constantly re-evaluate what is working well and what is not. Encourage employees to think about and share ideas without fear of judgment. Many people might say that "they are not creative" but that is usually not true it just takes some time to coax them into sharing ideas and getting past the fear of "getting it wrong" or "looking foolish".
Here are a few steps to incorporate creativity into your business life:
o Increase the visual stimuli of your physical space. In the workplace add some color, reconfigure space...visuals inspire people to think differently
o Think long term
o Communicate, communicate, communicate
o Make customers your innovation partners - how could you improve your product service from their perspective?
o Before reaching closure on a course of action, seek alternatives
o Seek diverse viewpoints
o Don't focus on growth. Growth is an outcome of success innovation. Focus on becoming adept at taking ideas from generation to marketplace. Be flexible.
o Remove whatever obstacles are in the way of people communicating new ideas.
o Have fun
Are you interested in infusing your corporate culture with creativity? Give Anya a call.
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The Wyoming Entrepreneur partnership program is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additional support is provided by the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming.