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Creative Thinking at the Workplace (Obstacles and Solutions)

There’s no doubt that each individual and every organisation are always desperately in need for creativity and innovation for self-improvement at the first place and to keep the cutting edge ahead of other rivals and remain competing in the current highly competing marketplace.

As any organisation is the sum of its individuals; people are the first focal point that must have the full attention in order to enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities/attitude (KSA) to harness the positive results potentially sought for.

In this article, I will spot the light on how it is possible to feed the workplace culture to support and encourage the creativity thinking through various tools to help people create new and unique ideas that lead to either improve the current processes and services on one hand or provide totally modern and untraditional products, services or even the way processes are executed on the other hand.

First issue about creativity is the acceptance in the workplace of the concept of change and how it is crucial for future existence and sustainable survival. So, Creativity is interlinked with attitude, the mindset to accept new things and changes, and the willingness to play with new ideas, habit of enjoying the success.  A creative person views things from different angles and other possible ways of doing certain things.

A distinguished workplace environment that could be titled as a creative supporting workplace may be found if risk taking is acceptable to management, new ideas and new ways of designing things are welcomed, information is free flowing, employees have access to knowledge sources, innovators are rewarded, and good ideas are supported by executive patrons.

Once the before-mentioned factors exist in our organisations, a difference in all stages (Inputs, processes, and outputs) will be demonstrated and appreciated. So the question here is how can we encourage people to have such a positive attitude to embrace change and enhance their creativity thinking skills? Can you guess?

From my own experience, I would say that there are five main attitudes and traits that creative people must have to be described as creative thinkers which are:

  1. Curiosity: Creative people are curious in knowing new things – all kinds of things as for them knowledge is enjoyable, useful in strange and unexpected ways. Those people are always curious to know the “Why” part.
  1. Challenge: This kind of people are ready to take risks and try to view everything differently, very eager in challenging the assumptions behind the ideas, proposals, problems and beliefs, and finally they believe that only in breaking a path, a new idea or new assumption arises.
  1. Good in Bad: Creative thinkers, when faced with poor solutions, don’t cast them away. Instead, they ask, “What’s good about it?” because there may be something useful even in the worst ideas or situations.
  1. Constructive Discontent: It is necessary for creative problem solvers because if one is happy with whatever is got then there will not be any requirement for changes. They have the perception that the more problems they find, the more solutions and more improvements they make and even previously solved problem can be solved in a better way.
  1. Enjoying the Victory: Creative people see problems as interesting challenges worth tackling and feel the self-actualization once they demonstrate and provide the solution that no one else could’ve ever thought about it.

Nevertheless, it’s inevitable to find many organisations that are intentionally or unintentionally resist creative thinking in a way or another. Some of the statements that if heard, we understand how the workplace is not providing the appropriate environment for creative thinking such as: we have not done it before, top management will not implement it, time and budget constraints, we are not ready for the change, that’s beyond our responsibility, we don’t see use out of it, it’s too radical change that needs lot of efforts and time, we can’t guarantee achieving the planned objectives, and many more devastating thoughts!

On the other hand, there are many organisations that push and may force their people to work on themselves to provide innovative ideas and put them into action which needs some practices either from people or the organisation itself such as, but not limited to, Motivational practices (intrinsic and extrinsic), appropriately recongnising and rewarding new suggestions and ideas, people empowerment, regular brainstorming sessions, top management involvement in various activities, Inviting people to share their inputs in the decision making process specially the ones impact the whole organisation, and last but not least where leaders lead by example and show the role models in embracing the change and welcoming the unique or even crazy ideas.

Finally, people always dissolve in the culture they work at and don’t resist the organisation culture for a long period as they feel comfortable to be part of it whether for good or the bad direction. i.e. good employees will turn into lazy and unproductive ones once the organisation culture appreciates such attitudes and, on contrary, normal employees will turn into active, innovative, creative thinkers once the organisation encourages its people to be so. Hence, my advice is to let the people unleash their potential to success and maintain the proper environment to celebrate the success.

About Yasser Bahaa

Yasser has a very diversified knowledge over the past 20 years in various fields and industries such as Banking (Branch Manager), Training (Trainer), Consultancy (Senior Consultant), Higher Education (Head of Registration and Admission), Government Excellence (Organisational Excellence Expert) and contributing as an author in different magazines in the fields of business management and self-development. Yasser has trained hundreds of trainees with more focus on organisational excellence, innovation, customer service, human resources, personal development, leadership, soft skills, and management. Moreover, he is an MTa certified facilitator, an EFQM Licensed Assessor, and considered the third Arabic Speaker in the world that holds an Investors in People (IiP) adviser license. Yasser’s academic background through passion is to support as many people as he could through this frequent blogs, articles and events he provides and always looking forward to improving his skills and competencies through connecting with like-minded people and those who share the same vision of having an impact on people’s lives.

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