Why creativity is critical for business success and how to do it

Picture of by Ros Jones

by Ros Jones

Business coach and author

Creativity for business

In our fast-paced world, there’s a real danger that we’re losing our basic human need to get creative. It’s a world where we’re constantly reacting to incoming information from many different sources, where we think of time as money and where we’re constantly glued to our phones.

More and more we’re engaging only the left-hand side of the brain in our thinking. This is the part of our brain simplistically attributed to logic. It’s our short-term memory. The right-hand side of the brain is the part attributed to creativity which we need to be doing more of. It’s also our long-term memory.

Unless we work in the creative sector, we don’t take time out for creativity. And creativity is critical for business success, not just in terms of giving us fresh bold new ideas for innovation and change, but for our own personal health and wellbeing that keeps us in the game.

Creativity is how businesses and individuals can stay ahead. It’s how they can sustain growth and renewal.

The business world is ever changing. What worked so well yesterday might not work tomorrow. Our customers’ needs, desires and behaviours change too. We need to be thinking flexibly to keep ahead of the game. Creativity is how we do that.

Creativity gives us space and inspiration to find new innovative solutions and create opportunities out of problems. Rather than dwell in the past and remember wistfully how our customers used to love our product or service, we need to look to the future and ask how we can develop new ideas now that will wow our customers and keep them buying from us.

Creativity is linked to a growth mindset. It enables us to think outside the box. When problems arise as they do, rather than feeling stuck, our creative thinking can find ways of using the obstacle as a springboard for new opportunities and solutions.

Creativity is healthy

Creativity is critical for our good health and wellbeing too which in turn is critical for business success.

If we’re not in good health, our immune system is affected, and we run the risk of becoming ill and unable to function at work. Getting creativity has been found to increase happiness, improve our mood and mental health, and increase our brain function.

When we get absorbed in a creative project, we get in the flow which helps to increase our positive emotions and reduce anxiety. When we’re in flow, it feels like time has stopped and brings feelings of calmness.

It’s time to take stock and get creative.

The notion that time is money and we don’t have time to get creative because it’s not bringing in more sales needs to change. That’s short-term thinking.

Instead, we need to take time deliberately to get creative every day in the knowledge that that time spent will keep us fresh and healthy and will bring in more sales in the future. This is planning ahead.

Einstein described creativity as “the residue of time wasted”. It is not a crime to waste time. Wasting time was how he came up with his theories on time.

In his book “Too Fast to Think”, Chris Lewis interviewed a number of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders and found that all of them attributed their success to taking time every day to do some form of creativity whether that was listening to Mozart, keeping a journal, painting or running in nature.

How can we get creative to generate new ideas for business success?

Here are 7 ways.

1. Give up perfectionism

I hear so many people tell me that they don’t have a creative bone in their body. That is simply not true. All human beings are naturally creative. The problem is often that we compare ourselves with others or are so fixated with perfectionism that we end up not creating at all through fear of being judged.

2. Make it easy

There are endless ways to be creative. The trick is to make it easy for yourself. If the idea of spending a whole hour doing something creative makes you feel anxious because you’ll miss an important business deadline, just start with 15 minutes and go from there.

3. Make it fun

Find something you love to do. It’s OK to play and if you love doing something you’ll want to do more of it.

4. Read more

If you want to think originally, read more. Reading not only improves your long-term concentration, but it also opens you to new ideas.

5. Change of scene

Our environment has a massively powerful impact on our mood and the way we think. Changing your environment, whether that’s the physical space we’re in or the people we surround ourselves with, can immediately trigger great new ideas.

6. Stop being interrupted

To take time to think more deeply we need to remove the risk of being interrupted. Step away from your phone and computer and let people know that you don’t wish to be disturbed.

7. Be still

We need to slow down and quieten down. Silence is important when getting creative. And so is doing nothing. Even when we’re doing nothing, we’re still doing something and it’s often when our best ideas come.

Find out more about our Get Creative Retreat where we invite you to take 2 whole days and nights out of your business, change your environment, take part in creative workshops, and get inspired with new ideas for your business and your life.

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