Keith.

Why Every Company Should Care about Creativity

Keith Krach
March 17, 2017
Leadership

In a 2014 study, Adobe and Forrester Consulting found that 82 percent of companies believe that there is a strong correlation between creativity and positive business outcomes. Subsequent surveys revealed that these firms had the right idea. The study found that companies that embrace creativity as a critical strategic asset outpace their peers in a number of measurable performance areas.

As innovation ramps up the pace and potential of business development around the world, organizations throughout virtually every sector are placing an increased emphasis on creativity. No longer a trait to be passively admired or relegated to specific departments, creativity has become a core strategic consideration as leaders brainstorm how to unlock creative potential at all levels of an organization. If you’re wondering what your company stands to gain from elevating the importance of thinking outside of the box, read on to discover some of the meaningful benefits creativity can offer your organization.

Innovation

Creativity drives innovation. As described by Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile, “Creativity is the production of novel useful ideas in any domain,” while “innovation is the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.” A workplace that values and inspires creativity is one in which established frameworks are not always set in stone, and where leadership is willing to forge new paths and make changes that increase the efficiency of existing processes. It is one in which stakeholders are motivated and well-equipped to solve problems and improve the organization. For these reasons, creative enterprises are typically well-prepared to keep up with increasingly competitive business environments. By enabling creativity, they facilitate innovation, which leads them to new business opportunities and solutions that set them apart from their competitors.

Revenue Growth

The innovation often exemplified by creatively driven companies can have a meaningful impact on a firm’s bottom line. In addition to often being more productive, creative firms operate with an enhanced focus on the customer experience, consistently developing new ways to attract and excite prospective customers.

Whether it leads to the development of a groundbreaking new product or a smarter, more efficient method of production, creativity can yield real financial benefits for companies that take the time to foster it. For their 2014 report, “The Creative Dividend,” Adobe and Forrester asked survey respondents—a group of senior managers hailing from a wide range of industries—to compare their firms’ 2012 and 2013 financial performance. Of those surveyed, 40 percent reported that their companies had experienced year-on-year revenue growth of 10 percent or more, and 58 percent of respondents felt that their firms did a good job of fostering creativity. In contrast, only 20 percent of the less creatively inclined firms covered in the survey experienced this level of revenue growth.

Company Culture

The cultural aspects that encourage creativity in the workplace are often the same traits that create an engaging, motivating, and enjoyable working environment. Companies that value creativity tend to understand failure as a necessary step on the path to innovation. When granted the freedom to fail in their innovative endeavors, team members are often more willing to take risks in pursuit of lucrative new ideas and personal professional development.

Creative organizations are also more collaborative, emphasizing teamwork and meaningful workplace interactions. They not only support projects and systems that allow employees to work together on exciting new ideas, but are also more likely to encourage collaboration between employees and customers to enhance the consumer experience.

When employees have the freedom to be creative, they are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty to the company and ownership over their efforts. Empowered by the vast possibilities of their own ideas, team members who feel that their thoughts are valued are often more engaged and emotionally invested in their work, as they know that their contributions can have a meaningful impact on the future of their companies. This is encouraged by the fact that companies that prioritize creativity often have systems in place to streamline the presentation, discussion, and implementation of new ideas. These frameworks often go a long way in encouraging creative thinking, and they can help to attract and retain promising employees who have a lot to contribute.

Problem Solving

In order to be successful, businesses must be adept at problem solving. Factors such as emerging technologies, rising competition, changes in revenue, and even communication can all pose both external and internal challenges to businesses. Throughout every sector, leading companies are able to adapt to changing business environments. A thriving creative culture can offer companies the potential to not only adapt, but to thrive in an evolving business landscape. Leaders at creative firms tend to respond to challenging situations positively and welcome the opportunity for innovation. Likewise, the employees at these firms are well-versed in identifying areas in need of improvement and employing creative thinking to enhance them. They are also skilled at using creative problem solving to arrive at universally beneficial solutions that account for all sides of an organizational issue.

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.