You know the type. They are there in your office somewhere – a flash in their eyes, a zing in their step, a perspective that surprises. And while we all consider ourselves to be creative on some level, there are those in your business who really do walk to a different tune. This is often characterized as being due to the dominance of right brain thinking – where different brain functions are located in different hemispheres – with the right side of the brain supposedly handling the intuitive, more creative functions.
And while Dan Pink suggests that we have too many left-brain men who are spoiling the pot, many companies are just not designed to allow individual creativity to flourish. So while you may have a strong group of creative people working across your business – ask yourself – are they really working across your business, or are they working in your business?
Gill Corkindale looks to the so-called “creative industries” as a way of breaking out of the standard models of business that we often find ourselves. By looking at the worlds of fashion, advertising and publishing, she suggests, we can out-think the structures that we labor under, and unearth the creativity embedded within our businesses:
1. Fashion. While managers in the fashion industry were clear about the business direction and focus of their roles, they also valued ideas, difference, self-expression and personal growth. These additional focus areas ensured that leadership teams were vital, energetic and individual.
2. Advertising. The open spaces of advertising agencies contributed to the shared experiences and interactions of both junior and senior staff. Self-expression was again focused upon, with all team members encouraged to display their individuality and personal interests.
3. Publishing. While publishing is about creativity, it is also about deadlines. Wrapping rigor around the creative process allows publishers to focus on both the business imperatives and the creative output.
Nina Nets It Out: We all hanker for creativity within our teams, but often find that it is hard to unearth and encourage. Following some examples from other industries can provide leaders with a place to start. Each of these industries promotes the individuality of our team members and validates and encourages their broad creative participation in business.