This month at Aisle Planner, we’re all about being artistic. It is, after all, a pretty big part of the planning job. We wanted to take today, then, to touch on encouraging creativity within your team. With so many different personalities and endless online advice out there, it can be hard to know just how to encourage and nurture your team’s creative drive—so, we’ve broken down our top tips for doing this just below. Read on—and get ready to have a team full of Picassos and Van Goghs (without the artist’s temperament, of course).
The Importance of Accommodating Individual Preferences
Oftentimes, we read about the power of things like group brainstorm sessions and, while we don’t deny these can be powerful tools for encouraging creativity and open sharing, it’s important to remember that not every personality type is cut-out for sharing their half-baked ideas in front of a room full of people. In fact, for so many of us—even those who seem like extroverts—the mention of a group brainstorming session is enough to make us break out in hives. In order to get the most out of each of your team members, we encourage you to ask them how they come up with their best creative ideas. Is it in a group setting? When they’re alone at their desk or out on a walk? Or maybe, they think best at 2 a.m. when they’re lying in bed (raises hand). When it comes time to brainstorm design ideas, allow each team member to come up with ideas in the setting that’s most ideal for them.
Nothing nurtures creativity like a little fresh air and a change of scenery. We love the idea of taking your team to an antique shop or even just on a nature walk for inspiration. Let them process however is best for them—maybe they like to wander on their own with headphones in while taking notes, or maybe they prefer to chat with the group. Every one of your team members has her or his own unique personality, so there’s no need to create a blanket group assignment for this outing. Simply head out to a shop or farmer’s’ market or hiking trail as a group—and let everyone process their take-aways in their own, individual way.
The Idea Wall
Designate a wall in your office as “The Idea Wall,” and allow your team to pin pictures or post notes on it. Think of it as a physical version of Pinterest—and try to refrain from having any idea about what should go on it. It can include everything from inspiring quotes to pressed flowers from that wedding you designed last year to photographs of your team together to paint swatches from a hardware store. This allows shy team members to contribute without feeling as though they have to put their name on something or shout an idea out in a group setting, and also helps your more outgoing team members channel that energy. You can choose to “go over” what’s on the wall every few weeks or so, or you can simply let the wall live and breathe a life of its own—inspiring and sparking ideas randomly, as people see it out of the corner of their eye or walk past it in the morning.
Overall, encouraging creativity is about letting go of rules, structure and, yes, that control we all so tightly cling to. When you’re a leader, part of your job is to nurture your team members’ unique personalities in order to get the best work and ideas from each–all while creating a space where they feel empowered and encouraged!