Developing a “Next Level” product development team takes time, patience, expertise and creativity among many other attributes. Let’s look at building a culture of creativity and the importance of your entire team bringing their imagination and original ideas to every aspect of their work. It’s easy to think of creativity as an artistic endeavor used in music and fine arts but it is also something you should bring to everything you do. Creativity is bringing new thinking to a given problem. It is the ability to look past traditional solutions and bring some original ideas to the table.
Creativity isn’t something that gets used only in the concept phase of development or in the aesthetic design of the product. The entire development process is a problem-solving process. Bringing fresh ideas to each situation will help you achieve a better product. How can you keep up with that required level of energy and how can you have an entire team do that on a regular basis?
Developing a culture of creativity comes from the expectations of the group and of the team members themselves. A person working independently is only going to be pushed by themselves to come up with creative ideas. A person working in a team environment is going to be challenged by the ideas of the other members. When you are sharing and presenting ideas to a group you inherently push yourself to come up with better ideas. The solutions offered by each team member are going to be more varied and naturally more creative. Just the process of being asked to help solve a problem in a group setting puts pressure on individuals to think outside the box and come up with something unique and different. As ideas get presented variations on those ideas become obvious and the discussion that follows takes on a life of its own. The result is almost always something that wouldn’t have come out of one individual’s mind.
Once the idea of sharing problems and vetting multiple solutions with a team is adopted, the next step is to develop a culture where it becomes automatic. The proximity of the team members to one another and the configuration of the work space are very important to that culture. Encouraging spontaneous collaboration and getting the team to meet regularly to discuss solutions and challenges is critical. The group should also have visibility towards their concepts that come to fruition. A successful group-inspired decision justifies the group involved process, so the team will be more likely to participate again.
When the team is proficient at group inspired decisions, that skill can be transferred to all aspects of the company. The more the team is responsible for other aspects of the business beyond their direct job requirements, the easier it is for these outside projects to be handled efficiently. When this collaborative process becomes a culture of creativity, your entire business benefits.
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