These may seem like two juxtaposing words, however, more and more in today’s world we are seeing how “business” and “creativity” collide to complement one another. It’s with this mix that we see small startups go from zero to hundred almost overnight and we see creative and artistic movements in cities all over the world that makes us think “huh, how didn’t I think of that?”
By allowing a space for creativity in your work, you grant yourself the freedom of self-expression and the unique chance to be yourself, and as Oscar Wilde famously said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. So let’s take his advice for a minute. By bringing your creative self to the table, think of how much you have to offer! You can bring your own unique perspective to each situation and as such influence the outcome. This will ultimately give you a greater sense of ownership over everything you turn your hand to and a sense of meaning in your work.
Let us first talk about bringing your own personal creativity to the table, in the form of personal branding. In short, personal branding is the process of using your own style, personality and aesthetic to “market” yourself. For the most part, this is a subconscious vibe that you’re putting out there, but it’s also something that you can hone in on and embrace for the sake of your career.
You can limit personal branding to your physical appearance only, sure, but it’s a lot more than just that. It’s your online presence, how you communicate your personal values and how people perceive you in the world. If you have the opportunity to speak at a conference, run a project end-to-end, work in a team, I guarantee you that if you allow your own personal brand to shine through, both you and others will get so much more out of the experience. Having confidence in your personal brand will provide you with a strong sense of self which will flow out through your work. Ultimately, it will allow you to be consistent in all of your projects and work to a high standard that you are proud of.
It comes down to being creative in your own unique way and making it work for you to be successful and find meaning in your work. So, now you’re thinking - ok yes, that’s all well and good for naturally creative people, sure … but how can I start being creative? As a matter of fact, creativity can be taught. Something that many would think can only occur naturally can be taught and we can even follow certain steps to get creative.
So, how can we teach ourselves to be creative in the workplace if we aren’t predisposed to being creative? Well, it’s with the combination of expertise, motivation and critical thinking. That’s it, really - there’s no magical formula or some gene that some are born with.
This leads me to something I, myself, have only learned about very recently. And that thing is the approach of Design Thinking.
The concept of Design Thinking lends itself to creativity. It’s the idea of rethinking the current format, process or product to improve it. We must strip everything right back to the fundamentals and use our creativity to improve it.
Design Thinking is the perfect example of mixing creativity and business. I say this because, yes, we are being creative but we are also following a five-step plan.
By following five simple steps that, you guessed it - can be taught, we can find ourselves immersed in the world of Design Thinking. The golden rules of Design Thinking are :
- Empathy - understand the needs of the users
- Define - pinpoint what needs to be changed
- Ideate - brainstorm for creative solutions
- Prototype - start making your creative solutions
- Test - rigorously trial and test all the changes
In short, by talking to the users and truly understanding and defining their point of view, we can thereafter, don our creative hats to brainstorm and invent different solutions for effective client servicing.
If we ignore our creative side in business, we will find ourselves going around in circles, trying the same things over and over and not moving forward in any respect.
Being creative in the workplace allows us to find fulfillment by connecting with our core personal values, be that what it may for each person. It’s only once we embrace the pairing of business and creativity that we will truly start to advance towards a better future.