Help Employees Rediscover Their Creativity and Watch Your Business Grow

Employee innovation can lead to business breakthroughs, but many in today’s workforce have had their creativity stripped away by a testing-obsessed educational system. Here’s how to help spark creative thinking in your company. The post Help Employees Rediscover Their Creativity and Watch Your Business Grow appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by AllBusiness.com. All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of AllBusiness.com.

Help Employees Rediscover Their Creativity and Watch Your Business Grow

By Mark Siegel

Famed physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

According to research by Kyung Hee Kim, a professor of education at the College of William & Mary, 85% of school-age children in 2008 were less able to take an idea and creatively elaborate on it than children in 1984. Between 2008 and 2017, Kim also found significant declines in open-mindedness as well as fluid and original thinking.

More specifically, Kim’s research reflects a decline in three of the five measured categories of creativity (outbox thinking, newbox thinking, and open-mindedness) from sixth grade onward. So what happens to kids in sixth grade? And what’s happened in the last 25 years?

Artist Erik Wahl sometimes opens his presentations by asking, “Who here can draw?” Typically, only a few people raise their hands, to which he responds, “If I were to go down to your preschools and ask the same question, what is the response I’d get? One hundred percent. Kids are dying to share with me their artistic minds.”

When the funding and even existence of schools is directly related to the ability of teachers to test prep, what administration can encourage creativity? In an environment where teachers’ jobs depend on students achieving high-enough test scores, who can teach creatively? When student success is measured by choosing the one correct answer, who can afford to be creative? Creativity just is not worth the risk.

It’s up to businesses to rebuild, encourage, and stimulate creativity

Creative thinking is the crux of innovation, which in turn is the foundation of our entire economy. Everything we have—everything—started with an idea.

There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.9% of American businesses. Small business owners are innovators. by Babson College found that:

  • 35% are engaged in research and development in a new product or service.
  • 46% are in the process of launching a new product or service.
  • 62% are improving the quality of an existing product or service.

Innovation is both necessary for a business’s existence and is a benefit of it. Innovation depends on creativity. So if our economy needs it, but our educational system renders it too risky, it’s up to businesses to rebuild, encourage, and stimulate the creativity lost in school. Here is how:

1. Give it time

Being creative and engaging in creative endeavors takes time, and time is hard to come by. Gmail, which was launched in 2004 and gained one and a half billion users in less than fifteen years, was a result of Google’s policy of encouraging engineers to apply 20% of their time to personally intriguing company-related projects. A similar program at 3M that had been around several decades prior to Google led to the invention of the Post-it Note.

Providing time for innovation at work will help unleash passion and creativity among employees.

2. Give it space

While it’s probably not feasible to work out of a facility like Apple Park—an innovation in itself—even the most mundane of offices can be adjusted to provide a space that inspires creativity.

Arrange desks and work spaces to allow ideas to flow freely between employees, minimize visual and virtual clutter, and play music that encourages creative thinking. Put up whiteboards and bulletin boards to be used solely for putting up new ideas for consideration and discussion.

Science shows that nature enhances creativity, and even just 15 minutes in nature has a positive psychological influence, so open the windows, bring in some plants, and consider holding company meetings in a local park or botanical garden.

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3. Leave room for failure

Creativity is definitely risky and it often takes many attempts to achieve success. Many businesses even go so far as to encourage the mindset of “fail early, fail often,” and make the appreciation of failure a major part of their corporate culture.

Although the Post-it was a major hit, other projects at 3M weren’t as successful. However, the employees continue to create, innovate, and problem-solve on company time. Thomas J. Watson, chairman and CEO at IBM during its most explosive time of growth, said the formula for success is to double the rate of failure; Thomas Edison claimed that he failed his way to success.

If employees know there’s room for failure, they will be more likely to take the risk that creativity requires.

4. Lead by example

Perhaps the most important thing a business can do to encourage creativity is to demonstrate innovation. Take time to be creative yourself, and do it in sight of your employees. Be innovative in your approach to company policies and adopt creative methods of managing time and arranging the office. Be transparent in your failure. Be creative, be innovative, and be the proof that creativity is worth the risk.

By the time most of us engage in full-time work, it’s already fairly late in the chain of developing a foundational, success-oriented mindset. In other words, it would be ideal if we could rely on schools to instill in all of us the creativity that modern work requires so much of. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case at the moment, and until that day comes, businesses can take on the responsibility of encouraging creativity in ways that will not only help their employees, but also the bottom line.

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About the Author

Post by: Mark Siegel

Mark Siegel is an educator with over 40 years experience, and is a tireless advocate of proficiency-based education. In addition to his job as Assistant Headmaster at Delphian School, Mark travels the country passionately promoting education reform.

Company: Delphian School
Website: www.delphian.org
Connect LinkedIn.

The post Help Employees Rediscover Their Creativity and Watch Your Business Grow appeared first on AllBusiness.com. Click for more information about Guest Post. Copyright 2020 by AllBusiness.com. All rights reserved. The content and images contained in this RSS feed may only be used through an RSS reader and may not be reproduced on another website without the express written permission of the owner of AllBusiness.com.

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Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund – how it can help your business

Originally written by Anna Jordan on Small Business The government has launched the second round of applications for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund. It’s for businesses that aren’t in the leisure, retail and hospitality industries. With the grant you can receive £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000. Am I eligible for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund? Your business must be Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund – how it can help your business

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund – how it can help your business

Originally written by Anna Jordan on Small Business

The government has launched the second round of applications for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

It’s for businesses that aren’t in the leisure, retail and hospitality industries. With the grant you can receive £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.

Am I eligible for the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund?

Your business must be based in England and you must have been trading since 11 March. You’ll  qualify if you occupy a property or part of a property which has a rateable value of below £51,000.

You should have relatively high ongoing costs and face significant financial impact because of coronavirus. People who have received support under the furlough scheme or the Self-employed Income Support Scheme can also apply, as long as they haven’t applied for this fund already.

To apply, you’ll need to provide evidence of fixed property costs plus evidence of a substantial loss of income because of coronavirus as well as proof that you’re a small or micro business.

Businesses that are in administration, insolvent or have received a striking-off notice won’t be eligible. You also can’t apply if you’ve had support from the Small Business Grant Fund; Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant; Fisheries Response Fund; Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme; Zoos Support Fund; or the Dairy Hardship Fund.

Applications are open until Wednesday 17 June.

Councils have the final say

Local councils have been asked to prioritise certain types of businesses:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, such as units in industrial parks or incubators
  • Regular market traders
  • Bed and breakfasts paying council tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties getting charitable business rates relief, which are not eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

Note that distribution of funding is at your local council’s discretion. Please check the details that they provide about the scheme.

Your council will run tests to check your eligibility after you apply. If you’re successful, there is no need to pay the grant back, but it is taxable. Find your local council site through gov.uk.

Businesses that apply for this scheme can apply for other coronavirus related grant schemes.

Read more

Find your small business coronavirus grant – list of UK councils

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund – how it can help your business

Source : UK Small Businesses More   

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