If you are the manager of a creative or marketing department, finding the time and energy to encourage innovative thinking amongst your team can be challenging.
Heavy workloads, tight deadlines and client demands are some of the greatest impediments to creativity, according to a survey of nearly 600 creative professionals. However, creative exploration often leads to new avenues of thought that can improve the overall process and outcome of day-to-day projects.
Be Open: Learn How to Improve Creativity
So how can you get the creative juices flowing? Here are some of our favorite (and most cost-effective) activities to help keep you and your team creatively inspired. And don't worry; you'll still be able to hit your clients' deadlines while having fun.
- Innovate. Ask your team to find new uses for everyday office items, such as "10 new uses for a staple remover" and then have them share their ideas during a group meeting. Problem-solving activities often lead to industriousness. And did you know a staple remover can be used to add keys to your key ring? No more ruined manicures!
- Play memory-boosting games. A round of Concentration or other memory game can boost memory and "fluid intelligence" – the ability to reason and solve new problems. Set aside some time each week, like Friday afternoons, to get together and test each other's memory.
- Start a book club. They're not just for Oprah fans. Book clubs bring team members together to discuss topics they are mutually passionate about. Pick a book – or ask your team for ideas – and purchase copies for everyone. Then set a time to discuss the book once a week. Here are some suggestions to get you started: Fast Company's Best Business Books of 2012.
- Get competitive. Challenge employees to come up with a new team slogan or rallying cry. Let them vote on the winning tagline or cheer and collaborate on a new design to go with it. Print the finished product on a T-shirt or reusable bag as a gift to employees throughout the company.
- Create office eye candy. Ask team members to post any designs, artwork or quotes they find inspiring to a common wall where everyone can draw inspiration. Examples of innovative packaging, favorite fonts, fresh color combinations or ad campaigns are all fair game.
Remember, creativity leads to productivity. So, get past the daily grind and learn how to boost creativity on your team. Need more ideas? Download our free guide, "Creativity on a Dime: 20 Cost-Effective Ways to Keep Your Team Creatively Focused and Inspired."