“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.”  — Walter Lippman

We are living in the age of creativity. While some may think creativity is splashing paint on canvas or putting pen to paper for an epic tale, creativity has it’s place in business too. Without creativity, there is no innovation and without innovation most businesses would fail. Creativity is the only way for businesses to keep up with the industry’s latest trends and competitors.

Encouraging Creativity

Unfortunately many executives or managers hinder their team’s ingenuity by not giving individuals the space to be truly creative. As with many problems, the first step is acknowledgment. With that in mind, it is important to know that creativity is a skill that can be developed as well as a process that can be managed. Studies reveal that your ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely a function of the mind, but also a function of five key behaviors that optimize your brain for discovery.

Team members can learn to be creative by being encouraged to experiment, explore, question assumptions and use imagination. Beyond this, it is a simple matter making time for brainstorming, actively soliciting ideas and rewarding creativity. By opening the door for a culture of company creativity, employees will be more inclined to share innovative ideas.

Creativity and Strategy

Sir Richard Branson has a saying that is the foundation of the Virgin companies. That mantra is “A-B-C-D” (Always Be Connecting the Dots) — or as Steve Jobs said,”Creativity is just connecting things.” Strategy is just that – connecting the dots between good ideas for an even better end goal.

Creative thinking, or connecting the dots, should be used to help drive strategy. Many leaders look to creativity to see beyond the obvious solutions. However, creative thinking is only worthwhile if it results in action. It is key to provide the time and resources necessary to execute great ideas. If your organization fails to do so, not only do you miss out on the benefits of innovation, but employees may also cease offering ideas if there is never any follow-through.

A Match Made in Heaven

Strategy and creativity are worth little as separate disciplines. Although strategic planning may sound dull as a doorknob and creative innovation may bring forth images of risk-taking corporate vision – this is far from the truth. It is only when these two components are brought together that companies can excel and thrive in their markets.

Tools such as StrategyBlocks help make innovative strategies come to life. With a full organizational view of your strategic plan, you can be sure no ideas are falling through the cracks and easily implement innovative ideas for strategic success.