Be honest. When do you get most of your brilliant ideas? Is it when you are sitting behind your desk with a deadline? Or doing something unrelated like, driving, going on Facebook- or like our friend here- whilst taking a bath? Is it even essential to get these creative ideas?
Present day we are living in a world where things are constantly changing. Think about this, in 1994 Honey I shrunk the Audience, was a 3D movie that could only be seen at Disney theme parks. Now, we have the ability to watch 3D movies at home.I don’t know about you, but when I was in elementary school teachers took attendance and we were required to raise our hands to answer a question (obviously only one person could answer at a time). But in 2005, the iClicker was invented, allowing teachers to quickly poll students and have the entire class answer questions simultaneously (it made classes a lot more fun too) (Dunn, 2011). Now the job market, well in 2010 the top 10 in demand jobs did not even exist in 2004. Bottom line, the world is changing. But what does it have to do with us?
To give you a brief idea, Canada has a growing population of Chinese and South Asian immigrants. According to The Globe and Mail, Toronto alone is expecting this population to triple by 2031 (Gee, 2011). So as expressed in the video “Did You Know?“ if you are one in a million, in China there are 1300 people just like you. Moreover, 25% of India’s population with the highest IQ is greater than the total population of the United States. This means, without our creative ideas, WE ARE REPLACEABLE!!! Those who want to be ahead of the curve, have to be visionary, as those businesses and individuals who are lost in their tunnel vision are only going to be left behind. Just as it is essential to be a creative individual to get those well paid jobs, in the words of former IBM chief executive, Thomas J. Watson, “… the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people” ( n.d., 2012). Encouraging creativity at work is good for attracting and retaining good quality employees as well as ensuring that those creative ideas stay under your roof instead of being taken to other organizations.
The company Google, understands the importance of creative thinking, but like Steven Johnson, they believe it is a collaborative effort; meaning that we need to collaborate our ideas with others in order to create and invent something greater (Click here for Steven Johnson’s video). In “The Eight Pillars of Innovation”, Susan Wojcicki discusses some of Google’s methods for creativity and innovation, while explaining that with a fast evolving market, Google, recruits people who are creative and believe that the impossible can become possible. Susan further explains that Google, looks for innovative ideas through all mediums:
“ Several years ago, we took this quite literally and posted an ideas board on a wall at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. On a Friday night, an engineer went to the board and wrote down the details of a convoluted problem we had with our ads system. A group of Googlers lacking exciting plans for the evening began re-writing the algorithm within hours and had solved the problem by Tuesday.”
Google, understands that most people are at their creative peak when they work on tasks unrelated to that assigned. Therefore, in order to fuel their employee’s creative potential, they implemented the “20 Percent Time program”, which permits employees to utilize up to 20% of their work week (~1 day for per week’s work) to pursue projects unrelated to those assigned. Google claims, that many of their products in Google Labs began as ideas during the “20 Percent Time” period (Strickland, 2011).
Today, many organizations turn to workplace innovation programs with the belief that creativity is one of the keys to competitive survival. In the article, “Training and Development in Australia: Finding Your Creative Potential”, an interesting method of fostering creativity is to have musical workshops. The aim of singing together as a team is to be able to find one’s own voice, as well as to understand and interpret that of other teammates- as voice is vital for presenting, influencing others and being heard (de Jong , 1). Upon taking a musical workshop in Melbourne, a member of the Focus Group explained his experience: ” we were challenged and inspired to think beyond the usual bounds of leadership style by taking a journey of breath, chant and song. It affirmed for many that if allowed, creativity can and will ‘create’ great leaders.” Music programs are believed to benefit organizations as a whole through their employees. The article further states that musical expression heightens well-being, emotional expression and self-awareness. And therefore, once an employee has found their self-expression, they would be confident and capable of going beyond their previous limitations.
As one can see, with the rapid change our world is experiencing, it is important for both individual’s and organization’s creative potential tobe recognized and utilized. My question for you is, What are some ways you foster your creativity? Or how and when do you find yourself most creative and open to new ideas?