21-year-old Code for Cape Town alumni, Mandisa Dlubom joined Responsive Tech as an intern earlier this year and we’re so grateful that she did. We asked her a few questions and her answers reveal why she has been such a good fit and how having her with us has been more than mutually beneficial. What a woman!
Creativity can be a daunting idea for many people. Many people don’t see themselves as creative… or at least there’s some confusion to what it means to be creative. It’s usually not seen as something to be encouraged in the business world.
Our culture has shaped this idea that creatives are the artistic ones who can at any time perform a breathtaking ballad or paint a work of art, and understandably, not everyone can see themselves doing that.
Truth is - creativity is all about finding workable solutions to problems in any area of life. Every one of us has the potential to be creative and innovative, no matter what expertise we find ourselves in.
A study done by Adobe and Forrester found that companies that embrace creativity greatly outperform their competitors on KPIs including revenue growth and market share.
So, how do we embrace and encourage this creativity? If only it was simple as saying “Go and create!” - it’s usually not something that can be forced, but rather an environment that needs to be cultivated.
1. Failure isn’t fatal.
The number one problem that stops people from being creative and trying something new is the fear of being wrong. We have to create a culture that says failure isn’t fatal - but rather an opportunity to learn. We are all humans: failing is inevitable at some point and we don’t always have to get it right the first time around. Success usually comes after much trial and error.
2. Encourage collaboration.
The best ideas are formed when we feed off each other’s creativity and ideas. Some team members have certain strengths, experiences and perspectives that you may not have, and vice versa. We are always better together.
3. Make time for it.
We all know that work needs to get done. However, not allowing time on your calendar for creative thinking, brainstorming and for getting inspired/refreshed can do more harm than good. In the beginning days of Google, they adopted a 20% time policy which allowed employees to use 20% of their time (1 day per week) to work on creative/personal projects, which is the birthplace of many of their products like Gmail, Google Maps, and Adsense.
This might not work as well for every startup. However, the same principle applies: having no breather between tasks and projects can lead to worn-out, passionless employees who are only just getting the tasks done and never going above and beyond.
4. Freedom with boundaries.
Having strategies and processes in place is important for your business stability and sustainability. However, not allowing people to do things differently - or at least try - can stop people from thinking outside of the box and breaking the barriers that have ultimately limited your business from reaching its' full potential. When we cling to one idea or one way of doing things, it can ultimately limit our creativity in the workplace.
5. Get moving.
At Responsive, we have something called “minute of motion” which is one minute dedicated to physical movement to counteract the negative effects of being sedentary all day. One minute is not enough for what you need, but it helps to get your juices flowing. Encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle is vital to keep up the creative spirits and key for employees to be able to perform at their best.
There’s so many other important things we can do to make sure our working environment inspires creativity and innovation. What else do you think cultivates this environment?