As an intern at Big Leap, I have the unique privilege to spend part of my day learning in the classroom and part of my day learning on the job. As I begin my career, I am learning the real-world value of a lot of things that I was asked to do in school. In my last few months as an undergrad, I have especially come to realize the importance of creativity and collaboration.
Phil Hunter, Creative Director at Pluralsight, recently visited BYU public relations students to discuss creativity and collaboration, among other things. I attended the event and gained a lot of new insights that I think could apply in any workplace.
Most organizations understand the importance of innovation and working together—these concepts are nothing new. Still, seasoned professionals may struggle to work together and think outside of the box, while newer employees may be hesitant to join the conversation. Whether you are a creative, collaborative genius or a beginner in your field, lets explore some ways and reasons to create and collaborate.
Creativity is vital to every organization in maintaining relevance and successfully overcoming internal and external problems. If you aren’t pushing yourself to your creative limits, you better hope your competition isn’t either.
Here are 3 simple ideas to unleash your creative potential.
- Ditch the status quo and explore alternative perspectives.
- Listen to your intuition and record your hunches and instincts in a notebook.
- Adopt a risk-taking attitude with the confidence that you can solve any problem.
Sometimes, when you feel stuck and struggle to be creative, it helps to listen to others. Collaborating can help fill in the gaps of a project, and can even lead you to your own creative ideas.
For most companies, collaboration begins with office environment. Over the last 20 years, office space per individual has decreased by nearly 20 percent, according to the International Facility Management Association. For many companies, cubicle space is shrinking, while other companies are getting rid of cubicles altogether and opting for an open office layout.
Tech companies especially are ditching cubicles and opting for open layouts in order to facilitate team-based work. These changes in the workplace have been difficult for some who are used to having personal space, but the collaboration is worth adapting for.
During Phil Hunter’s presentation, he offered some important steps to increasing productivity during collaboration. He attributes the success of Pluralsight to their company culture, where the best idea always wins, regardless of seniority or authority.
First, he insisted that everyone must check their egos at the door.
“Collaboration isn’t about being best friends, or even necessarily liking everyone you’re working with,” Hunter said. “It is about putting all and any baggage aside, bringing your best self to the table, and focusing on the common goal.”
Creativity and innovation should be encouraged in every company large or small. Another unique way that Pluralsight encourages collaboration is an annual event called Hack Day. During the event, everyone at the company has 24 hours to take on any project within the company that they want to fix. Employees from all departments work together in teams to come up with creative solutions.
Although this particular idea may be difficult for some companies to implement, every company can learn from this example. Pluralsight, like many companies that are thriving in the new economy, embodies this Helen Keller quote: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
If you’re skeptical of the ROI that creativity and collaboration can offer your organization, look no further than Google.
In the early days of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin implemented what they referred to as 20% time. Basically, the policy gave employees one day a week to work on “side projects.” This idea may seem like a waste of time for many 40 hour work-week employers, but the results are undeniable. This 20% enabled employees to think outside of the box and create some truly remarkable finished products. These “side projects” were responsible for many of the most popular Google functions, including Gmail, Google News, Google talk, and even Adsense, which accounts for about 25% of the company’s $50+ billion annual revenue.
Encouraging creativity and collaboration can produce incredible results, particularly when executives open up the creative process to everyone in the company. You never know where your next big idea will come from.
Whether you are in digital marketing, product marketing, sales, or are an entrepreneur, creativity and collaboration should be encouraged and expected to meet the unknown challenges in a changing business world and economy.
Photo Credit: BYU PRSSA