When employers are looking to build up a team for an innovative project, they can often fall into the trap of looking for someone new rather than realising the potential of their current workforce. It is often the case that the person who shouts the loudest is assumed to have the most creative ideas. But what if you've got some hidden gems amongst your workforce that are going unnoticed? According to Greg Satell, and international keynote speaker and author of Mapping Innovation, to build a successful, innovative team, "you need to start by empowering the people already in your organisation. But to do that, you need to take responsibility for creating an environment in which your people can thrive."
Empowerment and engagement are the fundamentals of successful team development. So, let's find out how you can help your team to feel inspired and get creative.
Communication is key
In order to come up with some exciting ideas, your employees need to feel confident and comfortable in expressing their thoughts. Regular communication will keep employees in the loop and encourage them to speak up, knowing that their voices will be heard. Who knows, you might already have dozens of creative and innovative ideas bubbling in the minds of your employees. Without establishing clear and regular communication, however, these ideas could be lost.
Value individual skill sets
Any well-oiled creative team will be made up of people with a variety of skillsets. How will your team grow if everyone thinks in the same way, after all? In successful innovative companies, differences make a team stronger. What's more, people are normally far more creative and engaged when they're working on something that they're interested in.
As a leader, it's important to listen to your employees, find out more about their skillsets, hobbies, and passions. This way, you'll be able to match your employees to the projects that they're most interested in, and their performance is sure to impress you!
Establish a creative environment
While some people may seem creative at face-value, others might need a little encouragement. Often, how creative and innovative you feel can come down to your environment. Of course, if your company is currently operating remotely, this is easier said than done!
Send around some pointers to your team to help them keep creative in their own home. One idea is allowing some flexibility in your work schedule. This way, your team members can get out on walks or take breaks if they're feeling particularly stagnant. Taking a step away from the laptop and enjoying a breath of fresh air is a great way to help you feel more creative.
If you're working from the office, there are plenty of ways in which you can construct a more creative atmosphere. Simple things like decorating your office with creative colours, having some uplifting music on in the background, and getting the lighting just right can all contribute to creating a comfortable work environment. This is essential for successful innovative projects.
Try some team-building
There's nothing like a spot of team-building to bring your workforce closer together and help empower them. Often, the office can become uninspiring, no matter how much of a creative space it is. Employees can feel stuck in a rut of nine-to-five days and need something fun to break up the monotony and hit the refresh button. Off-site meetings and activities are a great solution for this. They will help your team to see things in a different light and perhaps look at a project from a new perspective.
If your workforce is currently remote, this may seem more difficult. However, online team-building activities such as quizzes or a games night are still great for lightening the mood and reducing stress amongst your workforce.
Set goals and show appreciation
To establish an innovative team, it is essential that your workforce feels motivated and appreciated. Setting goals and holding regular reviews and meetings are both key parts in this. Through goal-setting, your employees will feel appreciated on an individual level. They will also always have something inspiring to work towards. What's more, members of your team may have some great ideas about how to improve the business, but they might not think to voice them unless you go to them. A regular catch-up with your team members allows for productive one-to-one discussions. For some people, this might spark creativity more effectively than a group meeting.
Innovation can come from the most unexpected places – it just sometimes needs a bit of friendly encouragement! Try out some of these tips and watch the creativity in your team flourish.