Creativity is an intangible chracteristic that most every company aims to cultivate. So much of what makes a company succeed — the ability to foster innovation, exceptional talent and leadership, and a high degree of brand recognition — is influenced by its creative perspective, practices, and culture. But does creativity also impact the bottom line, and do companies experience more business success because they foster creativity?
In May 2014, Adobe commissioned Forrester Consulting to investigate how creativity influences business outcomes. The study surveyed senior managers from corporations across a diverse set of industries to quantify and qualify how creativity impacts business results. This study found that companies that embrace creativity outperform peers and competitors on key business performance indicators, including revenue growth, market share, and talent acquisition. They enjoy a high-performance working environment, driven by progressive leaders and managers who provide processes, methods, and funding to back creative initiatives.
Most companies (61%) do not rate themselves favorably when it comes to judging creative capacity. In contrast, the majority of respondents (51%) said they were neutral or not comparable with creative firms, and 10% felt their practices were, in fact, the opposite of companies that promote creativity within the organization.
Well, but which companies are judged truly creative?
„ Creative companies create products that give their customers new experiences or add value to their life. They have incredible focus on the consumer — they constantly worry about how to delight and inspire customers in new and different ways. This directly impacts the bottom line“ says the SVP customer experience, global technology company.
5 Key Recommendations
In order to develop the practices and culture necessary to foster the untapped creative potential of a company, managers and creative leaders should develop the following practices:
1. Embrace a creative mindset: Asking employees to „be more creative“ won’t chnage anything without incorporating creative tasks, tools, and techniques into business strategy and ececution. A CEO should foster creativity and put the resources and funding in place to support it throughout the company. Leadership should encourage employees to go beyond the obvious solutions by creating a culture that asks „what else“ or „what next“? They should highlight creative accomplishments at the company meeting, shoot an executive video on the subject, or include creative achievements in internal communications like emails, blog posts, or comments on internal social networks.
2. Put creativity on the business agenda: Top executives make a commitment to creativity by including goals related to creativity in the company’s business strategy. They back this up by measuring teams against not only the number of new ideas generated, for example, but how well teams prioritize those ideas, incorporate needed changes into business processes, and bring the ideas to market. They actively help teams to prioritize creatively inspired projects, celebrate key creative breakthroughs, and personally recongize creative results. They also shake things up and add diversity to the mix.
3. Reward creative gambles regardless of payoff: We need to be willing to take risks, willing to fail, willing to not follow in line with everyone else. Embracing risk and trying novel approaches is critical to fostering creaticity. Besides obvious approaches, like setting aside budget and resources to experiment with new approaches, product ideas, or technologies, executives should be transparent about how the business takes certain risks and share which ones worked out, which did not, and the role creativity played in each. To avoid the downside of risk, a set of specific criteria, like limiting the scope or setting up cross-functional reviews should be set when undertaking more risky creative projects.
4. Embrace creativity to make your brand experience stand apart:Creative brands get products or services to market faster, enjoy a price premium from buyers, have more people who speak on their behalf, and disrupt their traditional markets with new ideas and approaches. To make creatity pay off in results like these, business and craetive leaders get to know their audience, understand what’s important to then, and describe their pain points in intimate detail. This knowledge should be used to create smart, provocative experiences that make both prospects and existing customers think or see things differently.
5. Investment in technology to support creative experimentation and collaboration with customers: It’s not enough to simply adopt technology early. To earn creative dividends, companies must use technology to better serve their customers and business goals. They shouldn’t look for off-the-shelf solutions, but bend and adapt technical possibilities to create bold new ways of running the business or engaging with buyers. It should make the intangible tangible by using technology to turn ideas into prototypes or simulations that clients can actually see and play around with. Business leader should increase their team’s fluency and sophistication by investing in tools that help them collaborate, share ideas, and get the creative juices to flow.
Creativity is underestimated in business. It is the art of using existing resources to promote creativity, to create a positive working atmosphere, to constantly improve various processes and other issues in the team through new ideas and thus to achieve better business success.
It is no longer just about to focus on issues such as employee productivity, process efficiency, and workforce planning as key factors in the success of business. In recent years, perceptions have changed. There is an importance of another factor that leading companies have recognized: The deep embedding of creativity in corporate policies — from strategy and culture to innovation and customer focus.