Different Ways to Promote Creativity in the Workplace

StrategyDriven Innovation Article | Different Ways to Promote Creativity in the WorkplaceWhen it comes to the workplace, people often emphasize traditional themes such as productivity and collaboration. However, there are many other valuable traits that employees can bring to the office and that managers should embrace. One of the most underrated features that you should promote in your workplace is creativity. Creativity can have a multitude of benefits for you and your workers, such as increased output and a higher sense of enthusiasm. Here are some simple but effective ways to foster creativity among your employees.

Give Employees Room to Explore

You’ll never know what your team is capable of if you don’t give them the chance to test their boundaries. To truly let your employees thrive, give them plenty of space to explore new opportunities and ask new questions. Engaging in this form of self-discovery allows your employees to have a sense of freedom while doing their jobs. Always be open to their suggestions and encourage them to propose new ideas. While not every attempt will be successful, each one can give your team a valuable learning experience that has the potential to help them thrive.

Use the Right Tools

The tools that your company utilizes on a day-to-day basis ultimately define its approach to creativity in the workplace. In order to make the most of the tools and technology that your employees use, make sure to confirm that they foster creative thinking in every way. It’s always a good idea to regularly evaluate your company’s technology to ensure that it’s facilitating your employees’ work as much as possible. From updated devices to new workflow automation software, making use of the proper tools can give your team more space to explore their creativity.

Celebrate Diversity

If you’re looking for a way to naturally incorporate creativity into your team, try to pay attention to the employees themselves. Members of diverse teams are much more likely to bring a variety of thoughts, opinions and suggestions to the table. This wide array of ideas can feed the overall creativity in your workplace and increase everyone’s enthusiasm as a result. Whether an employee has a suggestion about a project she’s working on or a proposal regarding the new Miratech software, you never know what kinds of ideas you’ll encounter when you emphasize diversity.

Don’t be hesitant about exploring the creative potential of your team at work. If you embrace this valuable trait, you can watch your employees thrive in a variety of ways.

Could 3D Printing Be About To Revolutionize The Way We Create Prototypes?

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |3D Printing|Could 3D Printing Be About To Revolutionize The Way We Create Prototypes?Bringing a product to market can be a very time consuming and expensive process making it inaccessible to many budding entrepreneurs and inventors, but could 3d printing be about to change that? Could 3D printing revolutionise the way we create prototypes?

What is 3D printing?

Most people will be familiar with their at-home 2D ink printer, which creates an image by injecting ink onto a flat paper surface. Well, a 3D printer works in much the same way except rather than using ink, it uses a malleable material such as plastic, and instead of creating a 2D picture it creates a 3D model. A helpful way to visualise a 3D printer is as a robotic hot glue gun that instead of quirting glue squirts plastic.

How does 3D printing work?

In the same way that a conventional ink printer requires a digital version of whatever it is going to print, so does a 3D printer. 3D printing always begins with a CAD generated 3D digital model, this 3D model is then sliced by a programme into thin 2D layers, these are the layers that the 3D printer will print, one at a time onto the print surface, collectively forming a 3D model. Some 3D models require support whilst they harden and so the slicing programme will also add in supports and lattices which adds strength to any hollow parts of particularly fragile parts og the model.

The exact way that each 3D printer creates a model can vary from model to model, but they tend to rely on the same principles. Whereas a desktop FDM printer will melt a plastic filament and lay it down onto the print platform through a nozzle, a larger industrial machine may use lasers to melt thin layers of plastic or plastic powders.

For the most part, 3D printers tend to create models using plastic, as plastic is a versatile material that comes in many colours, densities and textures and is relatively cheap to source. There are, however, some 3D printers that can work with more complex materials such as metal and protein, and in the healthcare sector, there are even 3D printers learning to print using human cells. 3D printing technology is advancing extremely rapidly and so although the technology may be limited to a handful of materials now, it is estimated that you will be able to print in any number of different materials in the near future.

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |3D Printing|Could 3D Printing Be About To Revolutionize The Way We Create Prototypes?What are the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing?

3D printing is an alternative manufacturing method to traditional subtractive or formative manufacturing. It comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, which are outlined below:

The advantages of 3D printing

  • Faster prototype creation
    Depending on the size of the model and the type of printer used the printing process usually takes between 4 to 18 hours. This is drastically quicker than other prototyping methods.
  • Lower start-up costs
    Compared to the cost of creating a unique mould for a formative manufacturing process which can cost many thousands, 3D printing is extremely cheap, needing only the cost of the material printed and the time of the printer. This makes it a great alternative for people looking for lower-cost prototypes and unique one-off parts.
  • Greater customisation
    Because of the cost associated with creating moulds, it is often not possible to create multiple iterations of a prototype. 3D printing, however, makes it possible to create custom pieces at little extra cost, with only the 3D design image needing to be replaced, you can create as many prototypes as you like.
  • Cheap creation of complex geometrical shapes
    Creating a mould for a complicated geometric shape can be very costly which can limit the kinds of prototypes people can afford to build. Thankfully, the additive nature of 3D printing means that it is equipped to handle even the most complex geometric shapes at no extra cost, opening the doors for more complicated product ideas.

The disadvantages of 3D printing

  • Lower tensile strength
    Many 3D printed models have up to 50% less strength than those created with other manufacturing methods, this is largely due to the way in which 3D printers create products using a series of layers. This isn’t a huge problem for many prototypes but is still something to take into consideration.
  • 3D printing is less cost-effective when printing higher volumes
    Whereas 3D printing is a much cheaper alternative when dealing with one or two of a product it does begin to get more costly as the unit quantity increases and if you are planning on printing 100 or more of the same product then it may be cheaper to look at another method.
  • 3D models require post-processing
    Some 3D printed prototypes will require supports or lattice structures in order for the 3D printer to build them, these will need to be removed post-processing in order to generate a finished prototype. This can add on extra time and may also leave marks or blemishes on the final product.

Conclusion

Will 3D printing revolutionise prototyping. Quite simply, yes. For the first time, many entrepreneurs and product developers will have access to a technology that is cost-effective and versatile enabling them to create a prototype without raising investment in order to fund the process. Desktop 3D printers are now available for as little as a couple of hundred dollars, meaning that they can even be installed in-house, saving a huge amount of money on outsourcing to an external prototyping company. The speed of 3D printers also dramatically accelerates the prototyping process speeding up the route to market and enabling entrepreneurs to start profiting from their creations more quickly. As the 3D printing market continues to grow, and the materials available becoming more varied, more and more complex models will be able to be printed opening up a whole new world of possibilities for creative minds, making 3D printing a technology that many businesses can’t afford to ignore. If you have an idea and want to see it become a reality then there has been no better time to get started.

Your Business Needs To Embrace Innovation!

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |Innovation|Your Business Needs To Embrace Innovation!If there’s one thing that sums up the realities of the modern world more than just about anything else, it’s the sheer pace of it. The modern world moves at such a speed that it can actually be somewhat overwhelming a lot of the time. There are few places where this is felt more keenly than it the business world. Keeping up with the world around your business has always been a challenge but it keeps getting harder as the world moves faster and faster every day. This means that there is one thing that your business needs to be willing to embrace in order to succeed: innovation. If you’re not willing to innovate, your business is just going to end up getting left in the dust by your competition. With that in mind, here are just a few areas of your business that could use a little innovation.

Technology

The most obvious place for innovation is most certainly the realm of technology. Technology has been the driving force behind a great deal of innovation both within the business world and in the rest of the world in general. Because of that, you need to be sure that your business is willing to embrace new technologies. Just look at the various businesses that refused to accept the rise of the internet. From cloud storage to specific things like Fusion Narrate speech recognition software, there are so many ways that technology can both make your business more efficient and connect with the world more effectively. Sure, you need to use a degree of discretion about which technology you use in your business, but keeping an eye on the horizon is always a good idea.

Employees

For the longest time, it’s been assumed that the way that employers have treated their employees has been working just fine. However, the truth is that more and more businesses are finding the benefits in innovating the ways that they treat their employees. Thinks like offering more flexible work hours and the potential for things like remote working can make a huge difference not only to the morale of your employees but their overall productivity as well.

Marketing

Marketing is one of those things that is inherently tied to the current moment and generation. If you want to be able to market your business effectively then you’ve got to be able to keep up with the changing times. People in the modern era simply don’t connect with traditional marketing. Instead, they want to content. You need to be able to connect with them on an emotional level.

Of course, one of the most important things that you have to remember is that it’s not enough just to innovate within your business once. If you introduce some innovations into your business and then assume that you can just rest on your laurels then you’re just going to end up in a position where the world keeps moving forward and you’re stuck in one place. You need to be willing to keep pushing your business forward in as many ways as possible if you want to keep up with the rest of the world.

From Spark to Flame – How to Find Ideas Worth Pursuing

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |Innovation|From Spark to Flame - How to Find Ideas Worth PursuingTurning fresh ideas into full-blown, marketable commodities is the mandate of every innovation team. The endeavor is more than serendipity. A great part is honed skill.

While originality and innovation spring from deep in the recesses of the mind, it’s our job to develop a creation mindset. This requires strengthening that mental muscle that allows new ideas to arise and exciting refinements to emerge. Part of this exercise is overcoming the self-judgment, criticism and lack of confidence that all contribute to our ability or lack thereof to think quickly or creatively.

I take my inventiveness cues from improvisational comedy. I’ve performed in, directed and produced improv comedy shows for more than 20 years. In improv, the actors make up scenes and stories from nothing. They build off of each other’s ideas without worrying about what the entire scene is going to look like. They just focus on the small, in-the-moment decisions.

As in improv, refining our ability to heighten inspiration and add our own creativity and imagination to an initial idea will let us take ideas to unexpected and exciting places.

Generally speaking, ideas don’t hit like a lightening bolt. Nor do they spring up fully formed, packaged and ready to market. The trick is to recognize the spark when our mental radar identifies a blip of inspiration, and then decide to act on it.

How do we go about finding the spark? Here are some ways that consistently help me set fire to new and interesting ideas:

1. Curiosity. Allowing ourselves to pursue interests for no reason other than the fact that something intrigues us is reason enough to explore new subjects. When you allow your curiosity to explore new concepts, you create new data points in your brain. What we’re doing is filling our “subconscious thought well” with snippets of ideas that our brains can reference. Ideas don’t come out of nowhere — they come out of that subconscious thought well. The more curious we are, the more and different pieces of information we make available to draw from.

2. Go do stuff. Moving from a passive role to an active roll activates the entirety of our bodies and ingrains whatever we’re doing more deeply. Like flowers? Then actually plant and grow some. Interested in history? Take a guided tour of an historic site. The point is, when we actually go out and physically experience whatever we’re most interested in, it becomes a part of us that can never be if we’re just watching. Having pursued a broad assortment of experiences gives us a greater capacity for making associations from a piece of information. Like improv actors, we’re able to build upon ideas by making connections or finding possibilities in all kinds of unexpected places.

3. Observe. Different from spectating, observing is a purposeful activity where we’re consciously focusing on what we see, hear and feel. When we observe, we tend to see both the micro and macro aspects. We take in the entire scene in the macro, yet pick out specific details in the micro. Observing is important to the creative process because we’re again taking in new information and building that subconscious database. This new information allows potentially unrelated concepts to collide to allow something new to happen.

4. Ignite sparks. Every day, people come across sparks of inspiration. An idea comes to mind and a small flash of excitement courses through us as we say to ourselves, “Hey, that’s a pretty good idea.” But most of us never do a thing about it and the spark dies out. The ability to jump on the spark is the single most important way of putting innovative ideas in motion. When we have a positive emotional reaction to an idea, it means there’s something there to take a look at. It may just mean starting to research it online. Some sparks will die a natural death, and that’s okay. What we’re doing is strengthening that muscle that allows us to make connections and let things spontaneously combust.

5. Fan the flame. Following inspirations even to their next iteration creates a momentum that can eventually allow a spark to flicker to life. One hundred sparks may die out for every one that builds into a flame, but when excitement for an idea doesn’t die and continues to energize us, we need to jump on it and see where it goes. From following an idea to its next logical step, one decision leads to the next. As the flame of the idea continues to build, we reach the point where we’ve envisioned something worth creating.

By following our curiosity, which leads us to do stuff, and observing what’s happening around us, we’ll start to experience the feeling of inspiration. And by fanning those sparks of inspiration that continue to excite us, we’re more likely to land on ideas worth pursuing.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Norm LavioletteNorm Laviolette is the co-founder and CEO of Improv Asylum, IA Innovation and Asylum Gaming and Esports (AGE). He has performed, directed or produced more than 10,000 improvisational comedy shows on three continents. He brings the experience of building companies from the ground up into multi-million dollar businesses. Norm Laviolette has worked with Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Red Bull, Fidelity and more. His new book, The Art of Making Sh!t Up: How to Work Together to Become an Unstoppable Powerhouse (Wiley, May 7, 2019), describes how the techniques of improv can transform teams into more powerful, creative and healthy organizations. Learn more at iainnovation.com.

Rethinking Daydreaming: Why A Wandering Mind Benefits Business

StrategyDriven Innovation Article |Creative Thinking|Rethinking Daydreaming: Why A Wandering Mind Benefits BusinessWhere does an idea come from? It’s a debatable question, and one that likely invokes an image of classic cartoons and lightbulbs above heads. In real life, those “eureka!” moments most commonly crop up at unexpected times; you might be in the shower, or taking the garbage out, when suddenly the solution to a problem you’ve been working so desperately to solve, freely presents itself – and you weren’t even thinking about it! This is no modern phenomenon, either. We all know the iconic story of Sir Isaac Newton and the proverbial apple which hit him on the head at just the right moment, so that alas, the beginnings of his theory on gravity was born. What you might not know, however, is that other such instances of lightning strikes of inspiration are documented throughout the history books and span well into the present day. One thing connects these incredible moments of realisation: daydreaming.

In our productivity-obsessed world, “daydreaming” is not a popular concept. After all, who has time to sit with their feet up, lost to the world, while notifications overflow their many digital devices? Our modern culture sees daydreaming as either a luxury or just plain laziness – but in reality, focused daydreaming is a powerful tool of ideation that businesses cannot afford to overlook. If the mind is a machine, daydreaming is the oil that keeps the cogs moving. From writer’s block, to tricky problems, trying to force ideas only tightens everything up; hence pushing forward becomes impossible. Businesses that welcome daydreaming see the value in letting employees get up from their desk so they can spend some time going for a wander or relaxing in a new environment. This space to breathe will be far more effective in producing top ideas and creative solutions to problems than getting someone to force it out through hard work ever could be.

To harness the power of focused daydreaming, you have to make it practical. As nice as looking out the window thinking about dinner might be, it’s unlikely to produce any ground-breaking ideas. Perhaps you’re wondering how then, on occasion, good ideas come to you at random times? The answer lies in the separation of the conscious and unconscious brain. While you’re thinking of other things, your subconscious keeps ticking over in the background. This is where goal-oriented thinking comes in; for daydreaming to be productive, it is key you marry the goals of your two distinct minds. Fuel your brain by doing your homework. Spend some time gathering and processing all the relevant information – remember, you don’t have to do anything with it just yet, you just need to make sure you have good knowledge of all the relevant resources. With your mind full of information, switch off and do something else for 30 to 60 minutes. Have a coffee, go for a walk, doodle, listen to music – whatever it is that suits you, totally remove yourself from the problem for that block of time. When you come back, you’ll likely find that fresh ideas and solutions are suddenly available to you – and if they’re not, try the process again. Take breaks, breathe; the lower the pressure, the more likely you are to actually discover the answer you’re searching for.

For the remaining daydream skeptics, just take a look at some of the world’s most prominent geniuses and artists. Einstein credits daydreaming – or what he called his ‘thought experiments’ – with some of his greatest achievements, having apparently come up with his theory of relativity whilst imagining the journey he’d take sitting on a beam of light. The composer Mozart would daydream about music while on walks through the tranquil countryside, allowing the sounds of nature to become the foundation of his later compositions. Thomas Edison had an unusual technique wherein he’d hold ball bearings whilst relaxing, as he began to fall asleep, he’d drop the balls thus waking himself up so he could note down any ideas that came to him. The list of daydream advocates is long and embellished with innovators, but there is only one way you can prove the power of daydreaming in business to yourself and colleagues: that is to try it. So wise up, walk away, and discover what new and inventive solutions come to you whilst thinking of other things – so you can finally achieve that “Eureka!” moment.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Chris GriffithsChris Griffiths, author of The Creative Thinking Handbook: Your Step-By-Step Guide To Problem Solving In Business, is founder and CEO of OpenGenius. Griffiths has helped thousands of people worldwide drive business growth using highly practical innovation processes, including teams and individuals from Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies, the United Nations, governments, the European Commission and Nobel Laureates. He is a pioneer in combining creative thinking strategies with technology to enhance productivity and is behind the iMindMap and DropTask apps, now utilized by over two million people worldwide.