I just finishing speaking at SHRM15 and what fun was had! I am so excited my creative and innovative thinking session was so well received. Though it was at the end of the conference, many people said they were glad they stayed and someone even stopped me in the Las Vegas airport to tell me the experience made her day!
Creative & Innovative Thinking - The Next New Skill still proves to be one of my most requested topics for keynotes and conference break-outs. Yet, I think it's not being requested enough. My belief? -- every company needs to have this topic as one of their required workshops for every employee.
Why you ask?...because creative and innovative thinking is the key to addressing many things that impact the competitive challenges companies and employees face such as productivity, the ability to manage, collaboration, managing conflict, engagement, sense of work satisfaction, retaining talent and profits...to name a few.
How? The best way to answer that is to share some of the benefits of learning how to think and tap the creative resource each employee has. To follow are at the top on my list :
1). Learning to engage in creative thinking is learning how to think.
Many people don't know how or don't want to put forth the effort (and then their managers think for them and subsequently resent it!) Consider this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions."
2). Employees who are trained to and expected to think independently increase their engagement
Contribute more, are more personally motivated, feel more job satisfaction, feel more valued and are generally easier to manage. It's an essential component of talent management.
3). Learning to think creativity contributes to the life blood of a company -
Continuous improvement for continuous and increased profits. I call it "the ability to create new". Consider this "new" list:
a new way to save money on a product
a new way to save money on a process or procedure
a new way to negotiate with vendors
a new way of reaching customers
a new way of presenting a product
a new way of executing a process
a new way of recruiting talent
a new way of retaining talent
a new way to reward employees
a new product a revised product (innovation)
a new way to engage customers
a new way to ..... you fill in the blank with what your company needs
4). The follow up to #3 is creative and innovative thinking helps in nurturing better decision-making
And judgement which is fundamental to success in any realm.
5). The knowledge and experience that one can think creatively reduces stress
because there is a ready confidence that "problems" can be adequately addressed and a sense of crisis is kept to a minimum. Problems are essentially seen as challenges with hope. I believe and have experienced that problem solving is an essential employee skill and ultimately life skill!
6). Ok...here is a tricky one. Creative and innovative thinking teaches us not to think
- that is over-think. Many times over-thinking inhibits the ability to generate new ideas. Over thinking could be just churning up the same old stuff over and over again. Over-thinking becomes the paralysis of analysis. This speaks to an Einstein quote in my previous article - Creativity - The Next New Skill
7). And finally on a human level - creativity feeds hope.
It empowers and lifts the human spirit and fuels motivation to achieve and to leverage resources.
Now you see why I believe having a creative and innovative thinking workshop included in every training curriculum is absolutely necessary and is truly an investment vs. an expense.