How can small teams challenge creativity

Here, Andy Bolter, creative partner at Yes&Pepper, tells us how you can inspire creativity in your small business team.

Where to start? Always have faith in small things, because thats where the strength lies. What small businesses lack in quantity, they make up for in ambition and focus. When a company is an SME, it’s easy for employees to feel a sense of tediousness; being surrounded by the same people day in day out could lead to a lack of creativity, diversity and staleness.

However, what matters is how you tackle this and inspire a team who may be small to become larger than life and punch above their weight. When the correct framework is provided, fences are removed from the creation process, boundaries are challenged and ideas begin to blossom.

When a team is small, it is very important not to seclude employees from the idea generation process based on their position. No matter what their role, businesses can benefit greatly from a variety of employees’ creativity and opinions.

You can inspire your whole team to be creative (even the ‘non-creatives’) by doing things differently through techniques such as being flexible, goal-focused, collaborative and optimistic.

Flexibility

Nothing works straight away so you need to shift the focus from having a fear of being wrong to being flexible with a positive outlook by introducing a reward system for involvement. The same young lady who is your PA, could also be part of the audience you are targeting with your campaign, so set her free from her admin work for an hour, and let her run wild with her creativity.

You must always look for ways to encourage your team to be creative, whether through reward or simply just meeting every idea with an optimistic response.

Optimism

From my time in the creative industry, I have come to realise that nothing is more poisonous to an idea than a snide remark or frown. All it takes is a hint of pessimism for the shy turtles who are your ‘non-creative’ employees, to put their heads back in their shell until everyone leaves.

Showing your employees that you’re optimistic about their input is always a good thing if you want to keep them motivated to share their thoughts. What I like to do is meet every idea with a ‘yes but’ and try to expand it to see if there is potential.

You only know if a seed will grow into a rose or an untouchable stinging nettle once you’ve watered and nurtured it: the same goes for ideas. Even the ideas that you think may not work could grow and develop into a solid campaign; all it takes is just a little bit of fostering and collaboration.

Collaboration

This is arguably the best strength any small team has, and funnily enough, also the most important part of creating an idea. Collaboration is needed everywhere, whether that is music, politics or putting together a campaign. It is the hand you grasp onto when you think you are losing balance and the third leg a tripod needs to stay stable.

Collaboration gives a company transparency and integrity. It shows that not only is an individual responsible, but the whole company is as well. Collaboration is an ongoing process, and not just about arranging one or two meetings with your team; it’s the same as democracy: it doesn’t finish with a vote.

Goal focused

Being goal orientated should be your roadmap and it needs to come from all members of your team. You need to understand what is important and what still needs addressing. A kick off meeting is a great way to refine the insight and work as a team towards your end goal.

Small doesn’t necessarily mean weak, just like large/big doesn’t always mean powerful. A small team has the same creative ability as a larger organisation, it’s just that it has a few more minds to work with.

As long as you are optimistic, flexible, goal oriented and, most importantly, collaborative, you’ll succeed with your idea generation process. In a world full of Goliaths, it’s not bad to be a David once in awhile.

Written by Andy Bolter, creative partner at Yes&Pepper.

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