At the end of October, the Pikes Peak region wrapped up its fifth Arts Month, a monthlong celebration that encourages residents throughout the region to engage in one new cultural experience.

The initiative also reminds us how creativity impacts our lives — at home, at work and at play.

Are there lessons to be learned from the creative sector that influence business? In my opinion, a lot.

I’m not talking about hosting a sculpture in the lobby or a local photographer’s work in the conference room. It’s beyond that.

Innovation and creativity have become critical skills for working to achieve success in business. The need for creative problem solving has arisen as management issues require creative insights in order to find appropriate solutions.

A study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. In fact, companies that actively foster creative thinking outperform competitors in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership.

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And there is no innovation without creativity. While creativity is the ability to produce new and unique ideas, innovation is the implementation of that creativity — the introduction of a new idea, solution, process or product.

Stimulating creativity and exploring new and unknown territories leads to an increase in productivity and improves the process of solving problems. It doesn’t matter if it’s the development of a new strategy or an innovative way to stay ahead of the competition — creative problem solving gives a competitive edge to any business striving to achieve.

More and more companies are looking for these characteristics in prospective employees. While a degree still matters, headhunters are looking for horizontal qualities that demonstrate you are a problem-solvers who works well with diverse perspectives.

While creativity is essential in fields like marketing and design, a little bit of unconventional thinking can go a long way in just about every aspect of business.

With our team at Wells Fargo Advisors, we organically found a home in the arts and believe it positively influences the way we do business.

Clearly, the creative industry impacts the city’s bottom line ($153 million dollars annually based on the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study report, orchestrated locally in 2017 by the Cultural Office in cooperation with Americans for the Arts) which benefits all business owners. We also realize patrons of the arts are a target audience that aligns with our business goals and objectives.

Our team has immersed itself in the creative sector, through sponsorships and donations, board of director placements and onsite events that foster ongoing relationships with more than 25 local arts organizations.

From our perspective, the creative sector has given more to us than we have to them.

By approaching our work in the spirit of collaboration and discovery, we believe we do better by our clients. We are passionate about putting the right ensemble around every client to deliver on their unique life vision, similar to casting a play or building an orchestra. We believe ideas can come from anywhere and are open to listening and celebrating all perspectives.

How are you challenging your employees to think creatively?

An innovation-driven work environment must be nurtured and it starts with leadership.

Supervisors and managers across the organization should promote a safe, nonjudgmental atmosphere where new ideas are respected and failure is not frowned upon. Outside opinions from other departments or divisions should be welcome too. Those working “outside” a project or in another geographic area often provide insight that hasn’t been considered by the immediate team.

Brainstorming sessions with groups of employees can also instill a sense of value for unconventional thinking. That openness promotes risk taking and encourages free-form flow of information.

In business, we have a lot to learn from our friends in the culture class. In a category that feeds off of imagination and originality, the business sector should embrace these elements and apply them to workplace culture.

Take time to cultivate creative thinking in your office — beyond a painting on the wall.

Herman Tiemens is senior financial advisor-wealth management, Wells Fargo Advisors. Wells Fargo Advisors did not assist in the preparation of this report, and its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Wells Fargo Advisors or its affiliates. The material has been prepared or is distributed solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy.

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