Tag Archives: creativity

Should You Serve Beer or Coffee at the Next Meeting?

I know it’s a question I’ve struggled with. “Should I serve beer or coffee at this upcoming meeting?” It’s not something you just answer easily, by basing it on the time of day or anything. Of course, it’s rare to have a breakfast meeting with beer, but not every afternoon meeting requires beer, either. So here’s a handy infographic to share with you the different impact beer and coffee has on your brain, so you can see which one is the better beverage for the meeting at hand. Bottoms up!

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How To Become a Risk-Taker

Yesterday we talked about how we really hate creativity, because really, deep-down, we’re mostly all risk-averse.

So in order to truly embrace the creative idea, we need to become risk-takers. How can we do that?

New research has shown that the old belief that a person’s appetite for risk is mostly inborn and unchanging is incorrect. In fact, people’s appetite for risk varies on circumstance such as their familiarity with the setting and their emotions at the time.

1. Getting to know your surroundings can change how you size up a risk. Yesterday we talked about taking a risk on implementing a creative idea. In this situation, figure out what will happen if the idea fails. Will you lose your job? May not be worth the risk then. Will your boss support your efforts to try something new, and give you room to fail? Then give it a shot. Not sure? You probably need to have a frank discussion with your boss to let them know what you’re thinking of trying, and feel out their support.

2. Sometimes an environment can shape risk-taking behavior. Your company as a whole pushes for innovation? You probably have more room to take risks. Your boss has tried some neat things out that have failed miserably, and she’s still here? Again, a safe space. Other departments have tried new things that have worked? A good environment for you. You also want to create that kind of environment for those around you, so risk taking becomes more commonplace at your organization.

3. Strong emotions also spur risk-taking. So get your boss and underlings fired up and get them motivated to take this risk. Use the old marketing standby- fear or greed – to highlight what’s in it for them and sell them on the benefit of this risk.

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Cultivating Creativity In Employees

Albert Einstein stated that imagination is more important than education. This is becoming more apparent with companies and organizations. In a stagnant economy, more emphasis is being placed on innovation in markets to jumpstart the economy. The same creative zeal that gave us the light bulb and the Model T is becoming more recognized as a key ingredient to pulling out of these hard times.

Years ago the buzzphrase “thinking outside the box” became popular. This was meant as a way to think of new solutions to problems in delivering services and products to the consumers. Initially this was developed as an approach to overcome barriers when other methods failed. Regular business practices were in place but employees were encouraged to think of new ways if normal routines failed. Today, this type of approach is integral in business practice. In his book The Game Changer A.G. Lafley describes how the creative process was integral in development of new products for Proctor and Gamble and helped turn the company around. New departments were created focusing on innovation in product development. This became an integral part in the mission of the company.

A study by the Brookings Institute reflects how creative thinking can affect  American jobs. There has been little growth in mid-level skilled occupations requiring routine processing of information like accounting and office work. These jobs are subject to outsourcing and  automation. There has been some growth in low level service occupations like caring for the elderly and daycare. At the higher level are managerial and high-tach occupations that have seen real growth. These jobs require problem solving, the ability to make hands-on decisions and developing new ideas.

In an article for Fast Company magazine Phaneesh Murthy, the head of one of India’s largest outsourcing firms, suggests that the American education system encourages the creative process. From high school through college,  schooling is geared towrds innovation and practical applications that play a key role in the work force. Mr. Murthy suggests that there are limits to outsourcing  of jobs where creative skills are not as prevalent in other countries. American companies can take full advantage by developing training and development programs to make the most of employees and new hires.

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