To boost the innovative output from your employees, create an environment that’s conducive to creativity. Here’s how:
Recruit mavericks. In 2009, a Drexel University researcher found that the most creative individuals tend to share four common characteristics: (1) They’ve lived abroad, (2) they’ve worked in a range of jobs and industries, (3) they exhibit a sense of humor and (4) they’re rebels rather than conformists.
Provide quiet space. The trend toward shared office space often results in a louder, more distracting environment. That’s counterproductive if you want to foster more innovation from your team.
Instead, let people engage in distraction-free thinking. The more they can concentrate in solitude, the more creativity they can harness. Set aside quiet rooms for brainstorming or designate 30 minutes a week when you challenge staffers to solve a problem without the use of any devices.
Limit meetings. The growth of online calendars and “meeting invites” threatens to kill creativity. That’s because employees wind up attending more unnecessary meetings, thus pulling them away from potentially innovative breakthroughs.
Impose a once-a-week limit on meetings and force attendees to stand the whole time. Encourage informal dialogues in between these weekly meetings, which promote collaboration.
Set the stage with music. You can attain a more creative state if soothing, predictable patterns of music play in the background.
Avoid music that grabs your attention or consists of rapidly changing beats. This can distract you and undermine your ability to innovate.
— Adapted from “4 Techniques for Building a More Creative Leadership Team,” Rich McIver, www.chiefexecutive.net.