“Be creative! Be more creative! Why are you not creative? Don’t you have any better ideas? I need a new idea and I need it yesterday.”

These are just a few questions that (quite a few) managers I’ve worked with love to ask their team members. Besides the fact, that creativity belongs akong the most important competencies of the future, enabling your team to be creative boosts employee engagement and employee performance. So – what is a better way to boost creativity and how can you do it?

Based on the latest research among successful teams, basic conditions for creativity in agile teams are:

  • A sense of safety (if your team is stressed due to uncertain contract or other unhealthy work environment conditions, such as working 12 hours a day, you can’t expect much)
  • Team connection (only once you feel connected with other team members, you can feel relaxed enough to think creatively and share your ideas)
  • Ability to trust (if you micromanage your team and they need to report what they do every hour of every day – this will create a sense of mistrust, which does not boost creativity at all)
  • Responsibility and ownership (too much hierarchy generates less and less responsibility – make sure that your team knows their responsibilities and does not blame each other for work that was not done, but knows that they can always get help from others)
  • A deadline (there is no way around it – we can brainstorm for hours – if there is no deadline, there is no result. As human beings we operate better under a tiny bit of pressure – just make sure that there isn’t too much pressure)
  • Positive work environment (if nagging, negativity and loud conversations that get out of hand are the way you operate, this will not work for most people)
  • Creative confidence (we often lack creative confidence due to our experiences in childhood, watch a great TED about this)

Based on our experiences we also need scheduled time for creativity, since most people in companies often say that they can not be creative due to time pressure that they experience. How can we schedule time for creativity?

  • organize creativity & collaboration booster workshop, where you will take your team outside of their regular environment (change of environment is a proven booster of creativity)
  • Connect creativity workshop / brainstorming with fun activities, such as hiking or cooking (we get more creative when we have fun and when we feel relaxed)
  • Schedule creativity time in your calendar (regular slot in your calendar, Fridays from 2-3 pm)
  • Talk about the environment that your team needs to be creative and find out what can you improve.