10 ways to incorporate creativity in your daily project management routine

Creativity is the ability to look at the same thing as everybody else and see something different. Charles “Chic” Thompson


For thousands of years, man lived in synchronicity with innovation and organization patterns, although these two concepts seemed opposite to each other. The newest tendencies tend to promote creativity as an essential feature of a healthy project management entity, even if they belong to different hemispheres. Unless you think of creativity as an eccentric hobby unto itself, giving an out of the box approach to everyday project might be a search for new opportunities. Traditional project management tools usually try to feature something normal and innocuous, but when creativity pops up, they actually spark creative genius and the potential for creating wealth.  You can’t become an efficient problem solver, develop products or change processes without creativity. On the other hand, a brilliant idea that sits on the shelf doesn’t help anyone unless it is properly implemented. That is why it is easier for a project manager who understands the definition of creativity and how to facilitate it to realize project success, especially if he follows these 10 steps:

1. Identify the root problem and use creative analysis. Ideas and solutions are nothing but a logical consequence of the questions posed. Jonas Salk said “The answer to any problem pre-exists. We need to ask the right question to reveal the answer.” The truth is that an innovative solution to the wrong problem will doom a project to failure.

2. Develop the right goal. Generating numerous ideas leads to the best (and most creative) solution. One of the most common mistakes in project management is to settle for the results of a one-time brainstorming session. Creating an environment that values continuous idea generation must be one of the project manager everyday tasks.

3. Gain support of sponsor and stakeholders. Don’t be afraid to give a chance to new and controversial ideas . “We don’t do it that way” or “it’s not in the budget” are the usual arguments whenever a controversial idea is presented.  An efficient project manager should know how to combat the rhetoric of “idea killers.”

4. Develop a detailed plan. Every project deserves a vision that enables the team to see exactly what the outcome will look like with great specificity. A detailed plan will help the team to take the steps that are needed to bring the project to life.

5. Assess risks. The project manager must  recognize the inherent risks and try to minimize them in order to facilitate the project’s success.

6. Secure resources. Creativity is not just a skill – it becomes a necessity when it comes to constraints on money and time. An employee that proves a creative use of resources should be encouraged and rewarded. This is the only way resourceful solutions that utilize space or equipment in unique ways can be brought to life.

7. Assemble a project team. A healthy project manager should bring together participants with divergent points of views and talents that work well together.

8. Handle problems management. The project manager who knows how to promote creativity throughout the project management workflow has better chances to succeed.

9. Motivate team players. Recognizing efforts and  using creativity in structuring activities are vehicles for team members motivation.

10. Close out the project. Analyzing how the project went is the final phase of a project. And, above all, creativity must be incorporated in performance evaluation.

Don’t be afraid to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and interpretations and a whole new world will spread before your eyes.