The Challenges Facing Creativity in the Workforce (And How To Manage Them)

At Social Driver, we pride ourselves on creativity. We like to move fast, we want to have fun, and we pivot when we need to. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

In fact, it’s incredible how many roadblocks creativity faces in the modern workforce.

Despite the fact that top executives agree “creativity is the most important skill” for successful teams, most workers feel more pressure to be productive than creative.

This is especially true in fast-paced work environments (like ours) where creativity can actually lead to problems in a team setting.

So where’s the disconnect? How do we fix it?

Here’s what we’ve learned.

What Gets in the Way of Creativity?

When creativity isn’t aligned with organizational goals, any company will risk stagnation.

Cut off creativity, and you wind up making short-sighted decisions that cause significant problems in the long-run.

From what I’ve seen, here are a few of the biggest factors impeding creativity today:

  • Immediacy. Creativity takes time, and managers who “need it done now” aren’t willing to invest that time.
  • Perception. Creativity is subjective, which can lead to it being perceived as “one person’s opinion,” rather than an actual truth. In some cases, teams also see creativity as self-serving, when it should be more customer-facing.
  • Pressure. Pressure surrounding buzzwords like “design thinking” and “disruptive innovation” can lead to a push for on-the-spot creativity rather than internal decisionmaking and a defined creative process.

How My Team Manages These Roadblocks

Sure - creativity can be tough. But it’s valuable to myself and my team here at Social Driver, so we developed an approach to foster it.

Here’s what we do:

  • Create Shared Goals. Creativity works better when the whole team works toward it together. As such, we insist upon clear communication and shared goals in our creative strategy.
  • Play the Long-Game. Creativity isn’t a place you plateau. Instead, my team started looking at it as a horizon, rather than a finish line. Today, we work to use creativity to develop innovative approaches, rather than as a means to some end.
  • Incorporate Creativity as a Strategic Approach. Creativity is a part of our team’s strategy - no questions. It’s as essential as budget and quality to us.

How Can Your Business Adapt?

That’s up to your team. For my team, creativity is an integral part of our upward mobility, and we’ve found a way to make it align with our organizational and client goals. Making it more present in your team is just a matter of doing the same.

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