Creativity is considered so important that in 2017, the United Nations officially recognised 21 April every year as World Creativity and Innovation Day, a day to ‘raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in problem solving and by extension, economic, social and sustainable development.’
The beauty of it, is that anyone can take part and celebrate creativity, not just today but every day.
What is creativity?
Albert Einstein said that ‘Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen, and thinking what no one else has thought.’ It's doing something differently, approaching a problem in a novel way, making unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.
Creativity is also ‘a mindset, a skill set, and a tool set. It’s a framework for approaching problems. It involves brainstorming a lot of ideas, seeking novelty, deferring judgment, and building off the ideas of others’. This means that anyone can be creative with practice. Creativity is not exclusive to a select few.
Why is it important?
World Creativity and Innovation Day was promoted to a worldwide UN activity because ‘creativity drives innovation, and innovation is the agent for positive change in our world’.
This is true in all aspects of life and the world around us but is also true in the workplace.
There's no denying that creativity in the workplace is an advantage. Creativity is at the heart of business innovation. And it's innovation that powers growth.
Research from McKinsey shows that companies who promote creativity and encourage their employees to be creative, innovative and think outside the box are those that outperform their competitors, both commercially and also by attracting and retaining the best talent.
Harvard Business School studies have shown that people make better decisions when they experience more intense emotions, and emotion is driven by creativity.
And what does it have to do with employee communications?
When employees are inspired, engaged and informed, the organisation performs better. When employees understand and embody the company purpose and values, everyone is working towards the same goals.
And employee communication is critical in supporting this. Effective communication - supported by a robust communication strategy - ensures that everyone understands, lives and breathes the company purpose, they see how it relates to their own values and how everything they do at work is connected to it.
Creativity drives this in a way that resonates with people on an emotional level. A great example is Coca-Cola advertising. Coca-Cola are really only selling a sweet, flavoured, carbonated drink, but the way they continuously innovate in their advertising and communication to consumers means that people feel an emotional connection with the product, which has kept it as one of the most recognised brands worldwide for decades.
Internal and employee communication works in the same way. Everyone is a sophisticated consumer of advertising in their everyday lives, and the emotional connection created by creative advertising will have the same effect when used to communicate with employees within an organisation.
How can you increase creativity in your organisation?
You can spark innovative thinking by:
- Fostering an open, creative work environment
- Motivating your team
- Encouraging diversity
- Providing the proper tools
- Creating innovation teams
And this is all harnessed through communication. It is instrumental in shaping an organisations culture and changing behaviour to innovate and succeed.
Here are just a few examples of communicating creatively in the workplace…