How to increase corporate competitiveness by boosting creativity

18/06/2021 | Santander Universidades

Have you ever wondered what’s the secret behind competitive companies in today's market? The key is creativity, a quality arising from talent within these companies and found in their staff. 

In recent times, lots of companies have realised that to be competitive in today's market, having good technological capabilities and highly qualified staff is not enough -besides these, we have to add in the key factor: creativity.

In general, organisations increasingly employ models, methods and systems that are efficient and attractive to the public. Customers and consumers are also becoming more and more demanding, making it unprofitable to stay in the comfort zone.

If we look back in time, we find that creativity has always been the driver of development in people, organisations and societies.

Numerous studies and investigations reveal the importance of creative talent and analyse its impact on business capital. A recent study by Ernst & Young (EY) and Future for Work Institute stresses that creativity will be the most in-demand skill on the labour market in the coming years

The company  SCOPEN, in its annual The Partners Book 2020, states that 78 % of businesses that invest in creativity achieve higher employee productivity, 76 % achieve a much more motivated team, 83 % get better results and innovation, and 80 % report happier customers.

For this new model of corporate competitiveness -in which creativity plays a fundamental role- to work, we need: tech-savvy corporate or human assets, intellectual assets, capable of generating new knowledge, and creative assets with the skills to come up with new ideas.

There can be no innovation without creativity

Managing creativity contributes greatly to business methods that offer competitive solutions. The most valuable currency isn't money, but rather ideas and intellectual property, which are intangible and constantly evolving. Creativity is a concept closely tied to innovation. However, it's important to differentiate the two:

    Creativity is an individual's ability to create and engineer something entirely new. 

    Innovation is the art of turning ideas into new and improved products, processes and services that the market acknowledges and values. 

     

Having great ideas without bringing them to fruition isn't of much use. That's why one area companies are investing most in its R + D. Research and development should be the daily bread of any company aiming for success.

Companies should have creativity in their DNA. However, we mustn't forget that certain obstacles prevent creativity from finding its place in companies.

    Concerns for reputation

    Pressure to produce

    Management requirements

    Fear of frustration

    Resistance to change

    Fear of intellectual theft

    Strict protocols

     

What can companies do to overcome these obstacles? Bearing in mind that creativity generates more creativity, the secret lies in surrounding oneself with creative people, teams that know how to innovate and don't fear change.

To initiate a process of innovation, companies must eliminate fear of failure, be alert to changes in the market, and launch new products, services and process changes.

How to boost a company’s creativity

Creativity needs a context in which to develop within a company. It is vital to create an environment suitable for the generation of ideas, providing appropriate techniques and tools for each team and role to undertake such work, taking the results of this activity and giving them a practical application in the company.  

It is also vital for management to stimulate the workforce, striking a balance between the exploration and exploitation of results.

Having come this far, you might now be wondering how corporate creativity can be boosted. Here are some good practice and behaviours that foster a climate in which creativity can flow:

    Challenges

    Motivation

    Active engagement

    Autonomy and freedom

    Trust and collaboration

    Diversity and variety

    Fun and happy atmosphere

    Time dedicated to imagining

    Trusted and secure environment

    Taking risks

    Managing conflicts

    Encouraging intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship in companies

     

That's just one part of it, the bit companies themselves can provide. The other part lies in what each individual member of staff has to offer. For example:

    Curiosity

    An open mind

    Flexibility

    Optimism

    Perseverance

    Willingness to continuously learn

    Critical capacity

     

To find creative talents, it's not enough to conduct a thorough competency-based recruitment process. Retention policies are equally, if not more, important. Once the talent is in the company, you have to hold onto it, ensuring the ideal climate for ideas to take shape and in this way, achieve the desired results.

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Education and training: the link

It goes without saying that companies will be demanding ever-more creative profiles. So, how can we guarantee that creative talent reaches companies? The key is to focus on education from the bottom up, as this is the link between creativity and the world of work.

The education system ‒often focused on memorisation over creativity and practice‒ is making a major effort to adapt to a new reality that supports creativity, innovation and also collaboration, because the majority of major learning takes place in groups, where teamwork is the key to growth.

There are many innovative programmes that, in their philosophy, harness lifelong learning and offer an excellent opportunity to foster the progress of both people and society. On the Santander Scholarships website, you can find all the training you need to develop your creativity and boost your career.  Make the most of this opportunity!

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