Four ways to encourage a creative workplace

If you want to see a company that functions like a creative powerhouse, look no further than IDEO.

The design company has achieved award after award for not only their work, but for how they work. If you want to have a workplace that encourages creative thinking, here’s a few tips straight from IDEO:

1. Diversify what you do and who you do it with.

At IDEO, both projects and teams are fluid. One week you may be working on a major, new initiative with veteran team members and the next you could be fixing up an old project that needed some fresh attention with the interns.

Having diverse experiences like this helps carry ideas from one group to another, maximizing learning value and ensuring that problems receive a fresh perspective. Creativity flourishes in places where new experiences are not only possible, but encouraged.

2. Be an advocate for your ideas

The most creative environments are ones where ideas – good or bad – are not only shared, but fought for.

In major organizations it’s difficult to get employees to share ideas because they feel as though it’s not their job. Bad ideas are shunned and anything even remotely creative is hidden away for fear of failure (which, for many businesses, can be very costly). Yet it’s the organizations that have employees who stand as bold advocates for their ideas that are leaders in the marketplaces.

3. Focus on effective communication

Ideas can only flow if they’re effectively communicated, let alone communicated at all.

Open environments work tremendously well for active communication, but talking or emailing alone won’t help the ideas grow. In order to really have a creative workplace you and those you work with need to be effective communicators, ensuring that their ideas are heard and understood, no matter how they are presented.

4. Turn work into play

When you’re bogged down with deadlines and dollar figures it’s hard to be open-minded and optimistic. Instead, turning work into play allows for more opportunistic thinking, which is where innovation and creativity thrive.

At IDEO they’re all about having fun while getting done what needs to be done.