Ask people if they are creative and unless they hold the title of writer, artist or designer, many if not most, will tell you, “No, I’m not creative.” How sad. And how limiting. The truth is, creativity is alive and well, but often untapped. I find there are many forms of creativity that shape the patient experience. They only need to be nurtured and unleashed.
This whole creativity discussion surfaced for me early in my nursing career. There were times when I witnessed nurses jury-rigging (or using what’s on hand) to solve numerous common problems and annoyances. These nurses were definitely creative problem solvers, yet described themselves as just the opposite.
When faced with service challenges, your staff often has great solutions but aren’t given the opportunity to contribute their ideas. Perhaps there’s a bias in your organization that only those with higher rank are creative thinkers.
Engaging the front line staff in identifying, understanding, and solving problems is good business. That’s why many organizations are creating centers for innovation. Although forming that type of center is great, don’t be duped into thinking that is the only way to foster creativity. Start by asking your staff for their opinions. Get them involved in observing customer reactions to specific experiences. Encourage them to drill down into problems and help find solutions. When they are given the opportunity to create solutions, they’ll be more engaged and take greater ownership for results.
Remember the old TV commercials that said, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Untapped creativity is a waste of human capital.