A simple trick to improve the ‘creative capacity’ of your team

Many organisations want to be more innovative. Yet, most managers don’t have the slightest idea on how to achieve this. Utilising and expanding the creative capacity of your team is a great first step towards becoming a more future-proof organisation.

If you want to stay successful as an organisation, you have to generate and implement novel ideas all the time. Coming up with smart solutions, original improvements and novel products & services is crucial for every business.

Developing innovative ideas is a skill that can be learned. Every individual is capable of learning how to generate surprising ideas. Therefore creative thinking should be part of everyone’s job description.

Many organisations are not familiar with their own creative powers. This is a shame. Making use of the creative capacity of your employees not only adds to the confidence of individuals, it also increases your team’s productivity. Used appropriately it will make your entire organisation more flexible and effective. By making use of bottom-up ‘inside innovation’, you no longer have to hire uninformed outsiders, and you don’t have to deal with the Not Invented here (NIH) syndrome.

A simple way to use and improve the creative capacity of your organisation is by making use of an ‘Opportunity List’.

Opportunity List
Ask your team to keep track of opportunities. Ask each of your team members to create an ‘Opportunity List’.  The list can be filled with problems, insights, observations, modern technologies and ideas that need further exploration.

Team members can add items to their own list whenever they feel like it. The opportunity list is a personal creative backlog, an overview of all the subjects and challenges that need your creative attention. The opportunity list should contain all the things your team members want to wrap their heads around. All the things they want to think about creatively.

It’s best to divide the list into two categories: 1. Exploration (developing new ideas without having a predefined objective) and 2. Goal oriented (finding ideas for a specific challenge).

Give each  team member the possibility to put some time aside during their work week, to think about at least one item from each category. Thinking for approximately five minutes about one single item should be more than enough to generate a lot of creative ideas. Especially if you make use of some thinking techniques.

When your team gets the hang of it, you could ask them to diversify the list with 1. personal, 2. team and 3. organisation objectives. This way you can combine the 3 layers of innovation (the CEO’s vision, the managers’ goals and the daily challenges the people from operations face).

The opportunity list is a great way to raise awareness about the fact that creativity is important. It goes without saying that developing creative ideas is only the beginning. After the generation of ideas it’s time to turn them into reality.

Curious how you can turn an idea into an innovation? Read it here.


Hungry for more?
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your team’s creative capacity, perhaps you should join one of our monthly workshops in Rotterdam. Check hatrabbits.com/workshops for more information.

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