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Of all the benefits of a company intranet, increasing creativity is one of the lesser known. We often talk about how the intranet can improve productivity, facilitate communication, and help fuel innovation. But creativity and the intranet? Hardly ever mentioned.
Maybe it’s because creativity is less valued in most companies. It’s certainly hard to put a dollar price tag on it.
Yet researchers have argued that the intranet can support and facilitate corporate creativity. According to Dick Stenmark of Goteborg University , many of the characteristics of today’s intranet directly support factors that increase creativity in the enterprise. These intranet features include:
- providing diverse stimuli
- linking all employees into an information network
- facilitating within-company communication
In this post, I’m going to suggest some practical ways to use your company intranet to encourage more creativity in your organization.
What Is Creativity Anyway?
Before I move on, let’s make sure we have a common understanding of what creativity is. After looking at several definitions, here’s mine:
Creativity is the ability to create something new and valuable.
We label something as “creative” if it is new, fresh, unusual, and unique. It’s an alternative viewpoint, approach, or solution — one that is not obvious or apparent. And that something must be valuable or meet some sort of goal.
The enterprise may not always be the best environment for stimulating creativity. Policies, tradition, the desire to control, and aversion to risks can hamper creativity. Companies that want more creativity from their staff must be open to trying new things, even if they’re outside the corporate comfort zone.
7 Ways to Use the Intranet to Stimulate Creativity
Use your intranet’s brainstorming tools. In Noodle intranet, you can set up brainstorming sessions using the Discussion Forum, Conference Room, or Blog applications. Open up brainstorming to employees in various departments. Creativity means never knowing where the answers can come from.
2. Seek New Ideas
Read other people’s project documents to look for new ways to apply old ideas or solutions. How did people working on other projects approach their challenges? What lessons can you learn from their experiences and apply on your situation? What perspectives did they take that you never even considered?
3. Play and Have Fun
Scientists have proven that positive mood improves creativity, so participate in intranet memes, games, and contests. Read and comment on non-work related posts and updates. Post your own.
4. Collect Creativity Starters
Are there images, websites, or people who help get your creative juices flowing? For example, there are certain writers who help me loosen up and find my own voice when I’m writing. If you get inspiration from specific sources, why not keep them all in one place? Create a creative wiki just for yourself, or use the Links application in Noodle to make a list of websites that stimulate your creativity.
5. Reward Creativity and Innovation
Did someone in your team come up with a creative idea or activity? Give that person a virtual pat on the back by posting about it on the intranet. It will motivate other staff to use their creativity as well.
6. Encourage Self-Expression
By encouraging self-expression on the intranet, you create an environment where staff feel safe enough to contribute their ideas and suggestions. This way, they’re comfortable and secure at intranet brainstorming sessions.
7. Make Your Intranet Look Creative
Environments that look creative foster creativity. If you’re the intranet manager, aim to give your intranet a creative look and feel. You may not be able to build a giant slide in your office, but you can add fun elements in your intranet.
If you’re not the intranet manager, you can still spice up your own little corner of the intranet, even if it’s only your profile page.
Does your company intranet help you and your co-workers become more creative?