You’ve a company and you want your teams to innovate and create and you want them to be working at their peak performance, but how do you actually create a workplace culture where that happens? Everyone knows that you need to apply creativity to your business to make it succeed.
This creative effort has a clear goal – to develop new products or streamline your business processes to increase performance. But creativity is also an end in itself and you should be allowing time to simply let your creative juices flow.
What Google do differently in the workplace:
Can you imagine giving your team one day off a week to work on whatever they wanted to make the business a better business? Google has a famous rule for its engineers. It gives them 20 percent of their time (one day a week) to work on their own creative projects. Yes, their own projects can be worked on for one day a week, every week. Although some refer to it as ’employee goof-off time,’ it’s actually an essential part of the company’s product development process and keeps their engineers motivated.
What are they doing during 20 percent time? Some fierce games of Rock, Paper, Scissors or Word with Friends? No, in the creative corporate culture Google has fostered the engineers actually work on the things they love and it increases their performance. This creative time is allegedly responsible for such revolutionary products as Gmail and AdSense.
The company makes creativity time part of the job for its most valuable asset; it’s workers. Only by experimenting with their own ideas can engineers at Google create unique, innovative products.
Are You Getting Your 20 Percent Time?
How would your workplace performance change if you devoted 20 percent of your working time strictly to experimenting and being creative?
How much of your time do you currently devote to playing with new ideas and not worrying about outcomes? Have you priced out creativity and the boost in performance that it brings? Or are you growing it? Creative time isn’t something that is solely for big businesses like Google. You’ll see it in smaller businesses where a companies profits can live or die on a good idea.
So whose responsibility is it to foster creativity? According to Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen, it’s everyone. “The people and teams who make ideas happen, time and time again, are able to do so not because their ideas are any better,” Belsky states. “Ideas don’t happen because they are great, or by accident. They happen as a result of other forces, namely organization, community and sound leadership.”
Remember that brainstorming and other creative activities are not always goal-directed. One of the reasons you should devote a portion of your time to creativity is to simply keep the floodgates open and play with ideas. Not only do ideas lead to increased performance, it leads to innovation and the growing of a workplace culture that everyone wants to be a part of.
If it works for Google, it’ll work for your business.