LIFE

Simple Ways To Increase Innovation At Work

Encourage debate and create an office space that feels like home.

16/12/2016 10:57 AM AEDT | Updated 19/12/2016 9:45 AM AEDT
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One way to boost creativity at work is to find the right level of challenge.

When you're working long hours and your job is feeling tedious it's easy to feel like you're devoid of all creativity, whether or not you work in a creative industry.

Maybe you're struggling to seek out new ideas, or your work colleagues don't encourage you to challenge the status quo. But there are ways to create a work culture where creativity and innovation can thrive for the good of everyone.

Innovation psychologist Amantha Imber told The Huffington Post Australia part of having creativity stimulated is to find the right level of challenge.

"A strong sense of challenge in your work is a critical driver of innovation. Challenge refers to people working on tasks that are complex and interesting — yet at the same time not overly taxing or unduly overwhelming," Imber said.

"You should make sure the level of challenge you set is achievable. But you shouldn't set tasks that people can complete with their eyes closed. As a manager, take time to thoughtfully consider how you allocate tasks and projects to people. Ensure that you are matching these elements so that people feel a significant sense of challenge."

Inventium
Amantha Imber

"It's also been found that creativity is dramatically enhanced when people are given the freedom to decide how they do their jobs."

CEO of Collective Hub, Lisa Messenger told HuffPost Australia there are simple ways to let staff know they have creative freedom and it's all about the workspace.

"When I launched my business 15 years ago, I wanted the office to be an extension of my personality, so it's about having a sense of home and family. We recently opened a new Sydney office and it's filled with natural light, with plants and animals. Feeling a sense of being at home is vital for creativity," Messenger said.

"It doesn't matter what line of work you're in. Even an accountancy or legal firm can do little things to lift the spirits of staff and that, in turn, heightens their creativity. I'd suggest people revisit their vision and values and let their business culture reflect that."

The Collective
Lisa Messenger lets her pets roam around the office as a way to make the work space feel more like home, to help nurture creativity in the office.

"At Collective Hub we have yoga on the deck, we finish work at 4pm on Friday for drinks and lots of team bonding. We regularly leave the office for vision days – the team bonding days are very important and it guarantees people return to the office with fresh ideas."

Amantha Imber also values the concept of risk taking, where failure is not seen as a dirty word.

"The notion of failure being unacceptable is one I have found resonates with many organisations. Failure is something that gets swept under the carpet when it does rear its ugly head. But being able to acknowledge and learn from failure is a huge part of building a culture where risk-taking is tolerated and where innovation can thrive," Imber said.

"You should also make sure experimentation is a mandatory step. Rather than just going straight from idea to implementation, you should first run experiments. This involves setting hypotheses as to why you believe an idea will add value to the customer and creating a minimum viable product (MVP) - the most basic version of the idea that will still allow for learnings."

Amantha Imber's Tips

Practice Autonomy: Loosen the reigns. When people feel as if they have a choice in how things can be done they are significantly more likely to engage in trial and error and, through this, find more effective ways of doing things. Just be sure that your manager is setting you clear goals, as the autonomy effect is strongest when people are clear on what you want them to achieve.

Debate: welcome all views. Ensuring that different points of view are encouraged and that ideas are regularly debated is vital for ensuring you have innovation at work. Lead by example and encourage others to debate and discuss ideas that you bring to the table. Actively encouraging different view points will strengthen your innovations significantly.

Avoid hiring clones of yourself. Avoid recruiting people who are just like you—doing so will only discourage debate and encourage homogeneity of thinking

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