How to encourage your new hires to be creative

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In today’s work environment, you need more from an employee than just strong technical skills. Sure, software engineers need to be familiar with the appropriate programming language, and data analysts need to know their way around a spreadsheet. But these things alone won’t make them effective. They need to know how to think outside the box.

But how do you cultivate creativity, and keep it growing among your new hires? After all, good ideas don’t just come out of thin air. Here are some practices that you might want to try.

1) Explain your thinking style

Not everyone will think the way you do–and when you work with people, you need to be clear about how everyone works. If you are a backward thinker, you begin at the end and work backward to the beginning. You define your goal clearly and you focus on that exact goal and move forward in well-defined steps.

If you are a forward thinker, on the other hand, you begin with a rough idea, and you move forward by reacting and correcting until you arrive with something concrete.

You’ll avoid frustration when you explain how you think. I once hired a talented young researcher. Every time she brought in her work, I responded by asking her to look at the problem another way. After her third presentation, she said to me, “I can’t work with you anymore. You don’t know what you want. I’m quitting.”

That was a wake-up call for me. From that point on, I make sure to explain my thinking style to everyone that I work with–and that meant going back and forth until we get there. When I do this, I create a platform for creative collaborations–by enabling others to work in a way that suits their thinking style, while making sure that they understand mine.

2) Make sure to challenge different creative muscles

In Lateral Thinking—a book about unleashing creativity–physician and psychologist Edward De Bono likened creativity to pouring hot wax into a block of wax. The first time you pour, you create a new hole–the second time you pour, your wax goes into the same hole, only deeper.

Sometimes it takes experimentation to elicit creativity, and that means pouring new holes into the wax. Don’t just ask your new hires to come up with three versions of a marketing plan. Ask for a strategic roadmap or ideas on making your website user-friendly. This gives your new hires a chance to exercise a different creative muscle, and they can learn what it takes for them to come up with a great idea.

3) Focus on what’s missing, not what’s wrong

When you watch yourself on video, you will most likely fixate on a particular flaw. You may obsess about how your smile seems crooked, how often you blink, how many “ahs” and “ers” you say in a minute. So what happens as a result of this kind of analysis? You pause, you clamp your jaws, you pop your eyes open, you have long, empty pauses. Focusing on flaws doesn’t work.

You have to look instead at what’s missing. If you speak with too many “ahs” and “ers” what’s missing is a connection between your speaking and your breathing, not that you’re stopping too much. You need to adopt the same kind of mind-set with your team’s creativity. Don’t focus on what they’re doing wrong. Instead, give them ideas on what they can do.

Whether you’re giving feedback or delivering a message, you have to approach it in a more–not less– perspective. As one of my clients explained, “When my boss asked us how we were going to cut costs, my colleagues presented their cost-cutting plans. I told him how I was going to sell more.” That client is one of his company’s top sales leaders.

4) Give feedback at a concept level

When you’re giving feedback to a new hire, you have to leave room for them to solve the problem. For example, suppose you walked into a room that had a fireplace at one end and two chairs against the back wall. When you say, “That’s ridiculous. Why don’t you move your chairs closer to the fire?” you’re jumping into solution mode.

Supposing instead you said, “I’d like you to consider how to optimize the experience of being in this room.” Now you’re challenging someone to think about what to do, and empowering them to come up with their own solutions. Your team might find the answers from the get-go, and you might need to tell them so. That’s okay, as long as you give them the space to be creators and problem solvers, not just doers.

5) Expect mistakes

Years ago, I was working with a leader from Toyota. He was talking about a discussion he’d had with a visitor from Ford, “I told him we have a system when employees notice a problem, they stop the line. We had 47 stops last month.” The Ford leader was impressed with the Andon process and adopted it right away. Then he came back a month later and proudly announced to my client, “We only had seven problems last month.”

My Toyota client explained that he’d missed the point. When you focus too much on avoiding mistakes, you’re actually blocking your creativity because you operate from the position of fear. You need to think of mistakes as a chance to fine-tune and improve the process. After all, creativity often comes from trial and error and you need to give your team the psychological space to do that.

Creativity doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. Often times, it requires trying different things before landing on something that works. Expect the same when it comes to your new hires. Be patient with the process, and you might just end up with something amazing.

[“source=medicalnewstoday]

Creative way to learn library history

Story image for CREATIVE from The Hindu

A lot of people seemed fascinated with my story last week of reading the library board minutes as a way of learning about the history of the library system when I arrived in 1983.

I will agree that it was not the most exciting reading — much of it was legal functions related to local government and requirements of the Ohio Revised Code, but mixed with those things were some wonderful stories of providing library service to the public.

Everyone wanted the “stories” of library history, so here are some I found interesting.

When Andrew Carnegie wrote his letter to Steubenville on June 30, 1899, saying that he would donate money for a new public library, he did not specifically say how much money he would provide.

The committee assumed that he would provide funds similar to the Pittsburgh-area libraries that he had already funded, and the $50,000 check that arrived was “surprising” as most of those libraries received three times more than that.

A polite letter from the library board yielded another check for $12,000 but that was all.

Despite reductions in the building size and other expenses, the library was pinched for money, particularly for new books for the collection.

The city library association operated from 1848-1855, and a reading room operated in conjunction with the schools from 1876-1880; yet both earlier libraries had closed and their books were boxed and in storage.

Those collections were given to the new library when it opened in 1902, but the collection was indeed sparse and new books needed to be purchased.

In those days, most publishers were located in New York City, and libraries received new books packed in wooden barrels and shipped by the railroad.

So, how did the barrels get from the railroad depot to the library, some eight blocks apart?

Horse and wagon was the answer but as the library was being completed in 1901, they found that there was no delivery entrance or loading dock — a problem that has plagued the library its whole lifespan.

Poor Ellen Summers Wilson had to open the barrels and carry the books by the armload up the steps as she could find someone to transport them.

Later board minutes discussed the fact that the $4,000 in operating expenses allocated in 1902, no longer covered expenses by 1924 and the library closed for the winter as coal could not be afforded.

In 1957, a new gas-fired steam boiler was installed and the old boiler was literally cut off at the basement floor level and covered with concrete. In our current construction, we found the boiler still exists under the floor still filled with coal and it will be under the feet of staff in their new lunchroom.

As the library system began providing countywide service in 1936, branches and station-stops were developed around the county, and one of the county librarians complained that her little space had a screen door that was worn out and needed to be replaced.

The board debated the need for a new screen door and eventually hired a carpenter to construct a new screen door which delighted the librarian. The first day of use a child ran through the door tearing the screen from the new door and demolishing the frame. The librarian said to “forget it” she would just let the flies in the library.

In the 1930s, “station stops” were established by the library in rural stores to begin providing books to the public. This meant a collection of 50-75 books that rotated from stop to stop.

One stationmaster was pleased to report that she had distributed every book on her shelf, but failed to tell people they were library books and they needed to “return them.”

Her station was empty for a while, but finally word got around that the books needed to be returned — and all was well again after the philosophy of a public library was explained.

The 1930s and 1940s were a time for serious repair for the Carnegie building. Severe roof leaks stained the walls, and bricks and stone fell from the tower damaging the original clay tile roof,

A library patron in 1943 was pleased to return his books to the library, as well as the “brick” that fell off the building and landed on the steps at his feet.

The problem was solved in 1956 with the removal of the top of the tower and the replacement of the roof by today’s slate roof.

(Hall is the assistant director of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.)

[“source=forbes]

Florida Georgia Line Expands Empire With New Creative Compound In Nashville

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of award-winning country duo Florida Georgia Line expanded their ever-growing empire once again with the opening of a brand new creative compound in Nashville.

The property is home to three businesses: meet + greet, Tree Vibez Music and Tribe Kelley Trading Post. Each company offers something different to Nashville’s budding business and entertainment industries.

With 2,471-square-foot of work and meeting space, meet + greet features five rooms, two private balconies, an organic espresso bar and a picturesque outdoor space. Rooms are available to rent for guests and members.

Tree Vibez Music is a publishing company founded by Hubbard and Kelley in 2015. The home office boasts a recording studio and writing rooms for the company’s entire roster, which features artists and songwriters such as RaeLynn and Canaan Smith.

Lastly, the Tribe Kelley Trading Post is a unique storefront featuring clothing and accessories from the Tribe Kelley brand, which was founded by Kelley and his wife Brittney.

Finding a gorgeous, tree-lined property in the middle of Nashville wasn’t an easy feat, but once Kelley stumbled upon this particular piece of land, the men knew they had to have it.

“We were able to get our hands on it and we kind of had a vision and a dream to keep the original houses that were here, but add on to it,” Hubbard explains. “We wanted to kind of restore them and make them places that we could come to and be creative and create something for our friends and our writers to come to.”

The end result “brings together music, fashion, business … even coffee,” and it’s something the duo is “really, really proud of.”

Giving back to the Nashville music community is one of Florida Georgia Line’s biggest passions. This new compound will allow them to do just that.

“That’s what it’s all about, being a little light to the younger artists,” Kelley shares. “We had that as we came up, from Jake Owen to Taylor Swift, the list goes on and on. We’ve been very fortunate and very blessed to kind of be like sponges and soak up as much knowledge and experience as we can and to be able to pass that on is really rewarding.”

New artists have a lot to learn from the duo’s success. Since the release of their debut single, “Cruise,” in 2012, Florida Georgia has catapulted into superstardom. They have sold out stadiums, earned 16 chart-topping singles and they currently hold the title for the longest-running No.1 (48 weeks and counting) on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with “Meant to Be” with Bebe Rexha.

The opening of the creative compound follows the duo’s other successful business ventures, which include the launch of Old Camp Whiskey and the opening of FGL House, their 22,000-square-foot restaurant in Nashville.

The guys admit the empire they’ve built is pretty surreal, but want fans to know they don’t take a second of it for granted.

“We had a pretty big dream and God just kind of took that dream and multiplied it bigger than we could have ever even imagined,” Hubbard says with a smile.

In the midst of their busy careers as singers, songwriters and entrepreneurs, they do make a point to step back and soak it all in every now and then.

“It’s been amazing what one dream can lead to, and what great music and great songs can lead to, and the opportunity now that we get to create of other people… it’s so fulfilling,” Hubbard adds.

Florida Georgia Line is currently putting the finishing touches on their much-anticipated new studio album. While they couldn’t reveal exactly when fans can get their hands on the new record, Kelley told me it would arrive at the “top of next year.”

“We just love getting new music out,” he says. “We’re chomping at the bit for sure.”

[“source=forbes]

 

Dentsu Impact bags creative mandate for Mobiistar in India

Vietnamese smartphone brand Mobiistar, which entered the Indian smartphone market in May this year, has recently awarded its creative duties to Dentsu Impact. Following a multi-agency pitch, Dentsu Impact has bagged the creative mandate for Mobiistar.

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Aniruddha Deb

Aniruddha Deb, chief marketing officer, Mobiistar says,”While we entered the country in May, we wanted to highlight our strong commitment towards the country by establishing ourselves more deeply into its ecosystem. Hence to reach out to the discerning smartphone consumers, we have roped in Dentsu Impact as the brand’s creative partner in India. The team at Dentsu Impact will work closely with the Mobiistar team for the offline launch strategy and the communication roll-out pan India. We are excited about the possibilities and are going to be quite aggressive in this extremely busy category.”

Commenting on the win, Amit Wadhwa, president, Dentsu Impact says, “We are excited to partner Mobiistar as this gives us the canvas to build this compelling brand in the Indian market. The category is extremely competitive, and it is not just about getting the right pulse of the market but also about getting the right handle on the mediums today.”

Dentsu Impact is going to be Mobiistar’s creative, communication strategy, advertising and branding partner. The agency will help Mobiistar in understanding the consumer’s mindset, behavior, motivations and triggers that will help the company make a mark in a cluttered smartphone category. The brand has planned multiple campaigns in the coming months and Dentsu Impact’s partnership will be key in rolling out integrated campaigns for new products.

Dentsu Impact is a creative agency of the Dentsu Aegis network that handles Maruti Suzuki, HT, Ikea, Carlsberg and the agency recently set up its Bangalore office as well.

[“source=ndtv”]