So, you want more innovation in your team, but don’t know where to start?

It’s time to…

  • Encourage and embrace the Creative mindset
  • Drive performance and engagement with simple creative exercises
  • Reap the rewards

I’m a HR Professional, and I am a florist. A unique combination, but it works for me….

In my very limited spare time, I have started delivering flower orders throughout Ballarat. I had a young tradie call me up yesterday to place an order for a delivery for his girlfriend. I made a fabulous bouquet and delivered it to her work.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it was one of those moments that made me really reflect on the power of creativity, and why I do what I do. I arrived at the Hairdresser (the aforementioned tradie’s girlfriend’s work) and called out her name. I saw her energy shift. She blushed and lit up with a huge smile. It was the power of the gesture from her boyfriend and the joy of her receiving something so beautiful. So memorable. On my drive home I felt elated. Not just because I was celebrating young love, but because something I created had such an impact on someone’s mood. An impact on their happiness. And I’ve been buzzing ever since.

There are some organisations who are really tapping into the power of creativity in their teams. Medibank are doing an outstanding job of this, and Flybuys embraced creativity to keep their staff engaged through the COVID pandemic. These are just two that spring to mind, but I have seen the benefits first hand, and the power of creativity, and how it can be used to bring out the best in team members and drive innovation.

Creativity = Innovation

It’s a very simple formula. But a formula that is not often embraced. We talk about creative thinking a lot when we are assessing talent. We know we want it, but we often don’t know how to harvest it. Naturally, the working world is full of policy and process, and this is not to be undermined and dismissed. But out-of-the-box thinking can be at odds to this if we don’t relax our approach. Unfortunately, challenging the norm or suggesting ideas can be discouraged, or employees that do so can even sometimes be seen as an individual that is a challenging to work with.

I’ve had people tell me that they aren’t naturally creative. I challenge this. Some people are gifted. It can be music, art, dance…. anything really, but you don’t have to be gifted to be creative. Creativity can come from the most unusual places. I know a few data analysts, for example, who talk about how they embrace creativity with numbers. I once spoke to a cashier in a supermarket who takes a creative approach to packing shopping bags. It is there, but you need to use your creative mindset to find it.

When we work we must juggle two mindsets. The reactive mindset and the creative mindset. And both mindsets need to work in harmony. This is the key to an engaged, empowered, and satisfied employee. It drives performance, and it drives retention. But as leaders we must give our team members permission to tap into the creative mindset. To get off the hamster wheel and take the time to find the balance.

The Power of Creativity

I found the power of creativity when we were coming out of lockdowns. It was always there, but I had never really thought about why creativity was making me successful and happy in my work. Being isolated and at home, many were showcasing their hidden talents, and trying new things. Becoming more expressive. Social media was flooded with people sharing their creative skills. But it came to a grinding hold when restrictions were lifted. I grieved for it and spent a lot of time soul searching and reflecting.

This is where I discovered the power of creativity as team building activity. Bring teams together to have that same experience as they were having during lockdowns. Learning a new skill. Celebrating together. And find the power in using the creative mindset, not just as an individual, but as team. (And I think I have also now trained the next generation of Australia’s best florists!)

And I am not alone. I recently interviewed three recruitment professionals about their experience with creativity, the benefits tit has on them as individuals and how it has led them to be more successful in the world of recruitment.

My final advice. This doesn’t need to be big. It can be very small moments that will shift the dial in terms of your team’s mindset. Encourage your team members to bring in some home cooking once a month, start your meetings with a session where the team need to sketch a picture of the team member across from then. Go for a walking meeting in nature and stop to embrace the colours and fragrances of the flowers you pass along the way. The benefits will be obvious, you will see a lift in mood (this is scientifically proven) and a lift in engagement. Give your teams the permission to find that balance, and the sky is the limit.

And finally, reap the rewards of a highly innovative team. That’s what we want at the end of the day isn’t it?

Consider this a challenge. The team at ATC would love to hear some of your creative approaches, to…. well, creativity! Tell us in the comments below

Edan Haddock will be the MC of ATC2023 taking place 22nd & 23rd November at Sydney’s Luna Park. 

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