Three Quick Tips for Making Creativity Normal

On Monday we talked about the social multiplier effect and I promised you some quick tips on how you could make use of this effect to boost creativity in your business by making creativity a normal part of life. So here goes.

One: don't imply that people aren't able to or expect to be creative

Many companies have teams or departments with words like creative or innovation in their titles. While this in and of itself isn't a problem, unless you're clear that you don't consider those and only those people to have what it takes to be creative then you're probably sending the signal that everyone else in the "uncreative" team.

Two: Champion and recognise self directed learning

Self directed learning is a creative process. Give some one a piece of clay and ask them to learn to sculpt they will have to be creative, experimental, self orienting. This is as opposed to learning through instruction in a classroom which can be anything but creative – relying instead on our ability to listen, memorise and reproduce what we have seen.

Unfortunately most businesses only recognise this second type of learning. If you have a personal development plan it probably only includes formal learning with standardised tests. This is fine but it only rewards learning what is already known. Self directed learning can lead you to places nobody has been before.

If you want creativity to be normal where you work, find ways to champion and recognise self directed learning. Encourage your teams to go off book. Maybe even make self directed learning an integral part of how appraisals work.

Three: Find the intrinsic motivation

Motivation is important in work and while they say that necessity is the mother of invention I don't agree. In fact, while we may well solve a certain class of problems under pressure from external requirements most of what is most creative in the world flows from intrinsic motivation. A delicate but powerful force.

Intrinsic motivation simply means to want to do something for its own sake. Words like meaning and purpose become important whereas reward is a secondary consideration.

What's the quickest way to make meaning important? Make it OK to talk about it. Right now I suspect most people in your place of work don't talk much about their motivations. If asked they might mention the company bonus scheme or the promotion they're after. But those are external motivators. To be creative at work it helps to be driven by something a little less rational.

Help people discover and follow their true motivations by making it OK, even essential, that this is a part of all conversations when setting goals or making plans. Build the motivation muscle little by little, day by day.

For more tips and ideas, why not book a free thirty minute consultation? Find out how at


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