How To Use Creative Flow To Unlock Innovation At The Workplace

How do HR managers enable their staff to be creative and innovative?

How do HR managers enable their staff to be creative and innovative? It is a question that we hear all the time here at Innovolo as we work with companies to accelerate growth with the power of innovation.

When answering this question, we suggest that creative flow is one of the most powerful ways to foster new ideas at an organisation.

The trouble is, achieving “flow” is no easy task. Luckily, we put together this short review of everything you need to know to promote creative flow in your organisation.

What is creative flow?

According to Scott Kaufman, the Scientific Director at The Imagination Institute, flow is “a mental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task.” It is a strong driving force for creativity since it allows the creator and the creation to fuse together. Being in a state of flow minimises outside distractions and reduces self-judgement that so often gets in the way of being bold and innovative.

That is why flow is so important for innovation. It simplifies an otherwise complex process. When in flow, the innovator can more actively engage with wonderful new ideas rather than be distracted by business processes.

Therefore, as an HR manager, it is important to influence creative flow at your organisation. But how?

To do so, we need to understand the characteristics of flow.

Flow is about personality, not intelligence

Research suggests that flow is more attributable to personality and emotional experiences than to intelligence. When in flow, the creator does not share characteristics that can be analysed with intellectual benchmark tests. In fact, flow seems most likely to occur when a person participates in a challenging activity that closely matches the person’s skill level. With the right environment and the encouragement to succeed, the creator can drastically increase levels of concentration and unlock new creative facilities to help accomplish the task.

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Best of all, these characteristics are completely possible to foster within an organisation.

Because flow is related to personality rather than intelligence, HR managers have a fascinating opportunity to increase the chances of creative flow occurring at an organisation. They can orient their hiring decisions based on the potential to achieve creative flow.

Hire for culture

The concept of using a hiring strategy to shape the constitution of personalities at the office is not a new one. There is a common practice in HR strategy that suggests you can “hire for culture.” By culture, we mean the environmental and collective scenarios that enable (or detract) from specific organisational goals.

What we are saying about hiring for flow is just one step further.

If innovation is a top priority at a company, then the company can hire for innovative thinkers and creative problem solvers. It is one of the core tenets of the Innovation Value Pyramid that Innovolo uses to help nurture growing companies.

In the Innovation Value Pyramid, a company achieves progressively more mature stages of growth by nurturing innovation throughout the organisation. The company moves up the pyramid by building competencies and resources for innovation. These characteristics include staff, processes, management techniques and workplace culture.

At the highest level, innovation and creativity is fostered through the culture and environment. Innovation is also driven by strong processes and management tools that are utilised by all the staff across numerous departments.

What are some ways that you can encourage creative flow while progressively moving up the Innovation Value Pyramid? Let us take a look:

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How to encourage creative flow

The following elements, when combined together, can lead to a strong and collaborative workplace where creative flow happens organically.

• Hands-on coaching to help discover an employee’s flow

• Empowering employees to succeed

• Praise for employee efforts (both successes and failures)

• Investing time to get to know staff at personal and professional levels

• Having fun at the workplace to let people relax and find their own flow

• Setting up a physical space to encourage flow: knock down walls and encourage open communication, where appropriate.

Ultimately, the best tool for HR managers to unlock creative flow at an organisation is to do a self-calibration. Ask yourself: “Have I found my own creative flow?” and, “What can I do to help others find their flow?”

Sometimes, you are your own best benchmark for whether creative flow is possible at your workplace.

Flow at the workplace

As an HR manager, it is important to understand how creative flow functions in your unique work environment. Creative flow can help boost innovation and problem solving, but it is only possible in an environment where people are not afraid to fail, be punished for mistakes or to be left out of important initiatives.

Leaders and HR managers are responsible for eliminating these barriers to creative flow. By fostering a collaborative environment where people are free to solve problems, you can actively shape the culture at your organisation.

The benefits to your company’s collective creativity, innovation and problem solving are certainly worth it!

…If you are looking for powerful tools and resources to tap into the creative flow at your organisation, why not check out our other Innovolo resources? For a free consultation on how you can build value and long-term resiliency with the Innovation Value Pyramid as a blueprint, reach out to us today!

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