With creativity being a current and future currency, more and more workplaces want to know how to build a creative work culture.
The idea is, as I understand it, that more creativity means better ideas on how to make more profit. And sometimes also do good for people. Customers and employees.
First, a culture is inclusive. Meaning it’s for everybody and not just a few “creative types”.
I would be considered a “creative type” at my work but we don’t yet have, what I would consider, a creative culture. We’re working on it, but it has to include everybody. And it is a long process, not a quick fix.
Before we get into some specific ways to build a creative culture, I will say that it’s never too late to change your work culture.
Whether people have been there 20 years or 3 months, we can always make small improvements to how we show up, how we communicate and how kind we are toward one another.
How to build a creative work culture
- The best way to create any change is to make the decision to create a change. This may be obvious but also one of the most difficult hurdles to tackle. And although the initial suggestion of a more creative culture can come from anyone, the decision to make it a work culture has to come from the top
- Get social together!
Change your staff meetings up a bit and hire a creativity coach to hold a creativity workshop with you. Getting your fingers busy and everyone out of their comfort zone for half an hour is a great way to get chatting and laughing.
Go bowling, go to a Café, go for a drink once in a while. Being together in other surroundings than work is a bonding experience.
- Rules for meetings!
Have clear rules about how you interact in meetings, especially in staff meetings. The tone of voice used, an order of speaking, how to respond to what someone else says, no phone policy, making sure everybody gets to say something.
Maybe start with a round where everyone gets to say 1 thing that annoys them. And then a round with 1 things they really like or appreciate.
Use your imagination here, but make sure whatever rules you make are inclusive.
Humor, lightness, and play are so, so undervalued.
Encourage each other to be silly, to tell terrible jokes and lead by example. Humor is intelligence and smiling and laughing makes us all relax. And when we are relaxed we are much more able to be creative. It’s biology.
- Introduce kaizen to your culture.
Kaizen means continuous good change using small steps.
How kaizen could help build a creative work culture is by welcoming all tiny suggestions of creative improvement. Make a decision to always welcome new ideas and thoughts on improvement, and maybe have a funky box people can put notes in. These written notes or drawings can be anonymous if that makes it easier for people.
- Take a critical look at your surroundings.
What does your workspace look like? Is it white and grey? Or colorful and interesting with art on the walls? Does the space you spend many hours every day in engage your senses? Is your space busy or calm?
We get affected by our surroundings in either a positive or negative direction.
You can do lots to build a more creative culture
Creativity is not just about making art, but a process of trying something new.
And to be able to do that you must have a culture where making mistakes is expected and even appreciated.
This can sometimes be costly and, we find, embarrassing.
But small questions like “what is one small way I can improve this?” can have a big impact without costing much at all.