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Cultivating Innovation in the Office

By Jill Bowers
Business.com / Last Modified: February 14, 2018
Credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

As an advertising agency, you need your creative workers coming up with innovative ideas every day. Here are some tips to help make that happen.

Google, Apple, Microsoft.Three of the biggest companies in the world, and they all have something important in common, something that makes them powerhouses in the business and tech world – innovation. The companies that thrive are the ones that come up with new ideas that interrupt the market and ignite new trends.

While you might not be developing new tech, as an advertising or marketing agency, you still need to innovate. The best marketers think outside the box and come up with original and creative ad campaigns that make a lasting impression. How can you encourage your creative employees to be innovative? How can you promote a healthy, safe, creative environment?

Google, Apple and Microsoft all have creative office spaces engineered to encourage innovation from their employees. Apple has an open, sleek, professional office design that is intended to boost collaboration while also reflecting the modern design of the Apple brand. Google takes a different approach with some of the most fun and creative offices in the world scattered around the globe, all meant to inspire employees.

Whatever approach you take, whether sleek and open or fun and energetic, the environment you create in your workspace is a vital piece of your company's culture and the creative capacity of your workforce.

Office essentials

Every office needs a few essentials, like desks, computers, pens, notepads and other similar items, but you may need more to inspire creativity. Give some these tried-and-proven methods a try, such as:

  • Color. You don't necessarily need to have an overwhelming amount of color or even extremely bold patterns, but having more than just white walls everywhere in your office is sure to spice up the creative juices from your team.

  • Open space. Having open spaces that make it possible for your workforce to collaborate is paramount for creative success.

  • Sufficient lighting. Mood lighting has its advantages, but generally speaking, you're not going to come up with your brightest ideas under dull lights. Be sure you have sufficient lighting for a bright, energetic workplace.

  • Break areas. While everyone's creative process differs, most creatives need time to ruminate. Having break areas in your office can provide the space your team needs while they turn over their ideas. Many companies have break areas with games, snacks and comfortable seating; yours can be whatever fits your company's needs.

Editor's Note: Need some help finding office essentials? We can help you choose office desks that are best for your business. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

Company culture

What helps people be creative has more to do with the company culture and less to do with the office itself, though a primed office space can certainly help. Workers need to feel safe and valued; they need to know that the company is encouraging innovation, and they need to feel like their ideas are being heard and duly considered. These requirements are going to be met not by the physical office space, but by the company's culture. Here are some tips on how to help your employees feel safe so they can be creative:

These requirements are going to be met not by the physical office space, but by the company's culture. Here are some tips on how to help your employees feel safe so they can be creative:

  • Host brainstorming events. Have your creative workforce come together and brainstorm ideas. Make these meetings a place where even bad ideas are welcome. Brainstorming events can take place weekly, daily or with any other frequency that you feel is best for your company.

  • Encourage communication and collaboration. Where possible, eliminate silos. Build a company where employees feel safe and comfortable talking with each other. Better ideas are produced when creative workers collaborate, even across departments.

  • Be flexible. Of course, you should have core business hours, but don't be afraid to be flexible from time to time. Creative minds don't run on schedules; they don't only have good ideas between nine and five. Be willing to be flexible with hours occasionally, or to allow work from home, if possible, so your employees cultivate the best ideas.

  • Do activities outside of work. Participating in fun activities or in conversations that don't involve work can strengthen team bonds, which, in turn, builds collaboration. The more comfortable your team feels around each other, the more comfortable your employees will feel bringing up new ideas.

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