Creativity. A nebulous, almost intangible part of life that is increasingly important in many aspects of business: creative leadership, creative communications, creative strategy and the list goes on. (We’ve even been hearing a lot about creative accounting in the press recently but the less said about that the better, probably).
As budgets get tighter, there often comes a need to do more with less and consequently, creativity is needed more than ever. Advertising and marketing/PR agencies have long understood the importance of a creative workplace culture for nurturing ideas and encouraging ‘outside of the box’ thinking.
Elsewhere though, it is potentially paradoxical: creativity has never been more critical to competitiveness in the marketplace, but the fundamental approach behind putting creativity into practice is too often found leaving a lot to be desired.
As more and more of the business world cottons on to the need to develop creative working environments that empower and engage staff, an important question arises: how do you foster and nurture a creative culture?
In a recent feature on coaching creativity, Harvard Business Review discussed how genetic studies have shown that genes account for only ten percent of the variability in creative potential.
Therefore, there is a significant amount of room for improvement and development: creativity can “be nurtured via deliberate interventions, especially over a long period of time,” says Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College London (UCL).
With this in mind, I attended a recent ‘Creative Spark’ event hosted by the PRCA. This particular session was in association with Weber Shandwick, an international PR agency that understands and implements creativity – with excellent commercial effect – better than most.
We had the pleasure of listening to Jo Leah – Weber Shandwick Manchester MD – speak about how this valuable quality is more important than ever. Moreover, Jo gave valuable insight into how the agency inspires, encourages and promotes the creative culture that so many crave.
The agency is wired for creative expression from the ground up. Creativity is a business priority and creative leadership is essential. This approach has been successful in cultivating a culture of creativity that is embraced across the agency.
Creative inspiration/idea generation sessions are a weekly occurrence; events related to a topic outside of their discipline are attended regularly; fun nights out are commonplace: think comedy club, bowling nights etc. Engaging and empowering employees to help unleash their creative potential and confidence is firmly top of the agenda.
I left the event inspired by Jo’s passion for her discipline and her commitment to the creative approach. Magma Digital’s discipline is bespoke software development that tackles critical business challenges, so we’re no strangers to finding creative and innovative solutions ourselves.
However, it was particularly refreshing and enlightening to learn about best practice in the implementation of the creative process in another industry. Let us know your approach to creativity in the comments below!