You've probably noticed creativity has gotten a lot of attention lately. Creativity has always been valued as a good business skill. So why is it now seen as so essential?
There are three powerful reasons. First, our high-velocity economy requires that businesses constantly create. Second, we know a creative business culture attracts, retains and motivates workers, especially knowledge workers. Third, using creative techniques helps generate ideas that our normal mode of thinking would not. The brain generates patterns it's difficult for us to see beyond. Creative techniques help us bypass our usual ways of thinking and generate ideas we wouldn't normally. In this economy, where ideas are what matters, it makes sense to learn more about the creative process.
Countless articles and books tell us creative companies have a competitive advantage. Practices that purposefully support creativity, however, remain absent from most companies.
So where do you start? Where you are. What are your beliefs about creativity? If you think it's the province of a few talented people or it is OK in the arts but has no place in business, you can't build a creative company.
How creative is your company? A creativity audit offers the answer. Jamming: the Art and Discipline of Business Creativityby John Kao provides a model for auditing creativity. You may want to engage a creativity consultant to perform the audit and set you on the right path.
If you want to become a creative company, you must become a student of creativity. Learning to tap your creativity is like learning any other skill: It takes time and focus. Two other helpful books to get you started are Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideasby Edward De Bono and Creativity in Businessby Michael Ray and Rochelle Myers. But you can't just read about it; you have to begin by doing what every creative action requires--taking that first step into the unknown.
Juanita Weaver is a creativity consultant and coach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.