UK business' 'failure to tap into and foster creative streak in employees' can stifle innovation, leading psychologist warns

Workplace creativity is crucial for any business to prosper - but less than a third of British firms are doing anything to foster it, according to a new study.

Psychologist and business coach Ros Taylor is seeking to challenge views on creativity and illustrate how some companies are smothering new ideas and creative enterprises - at a time when more innovative solutions are needed to help businesses stay ahead of the competition.

The author of Creativity at Work said that creativity is the "precursor to innovation, the practical result - creativity made manifest". She added that innovative practices can "transform a business into an adaptive and evolving entity", but lamented the fact that only a quarter of workers in the UK are given any time to come up with new ideas.

She said: "If there were ever a time that we require to do things differently and have ideas it is now."

In the course of her research she included a poll of 1,000 UK workers as well as interviews with business leaders from around the world, highlighting common misconceptions over what creativity is. Many people in case studies said they felt creativity was for more artistic types, and they did not see their workplace as the time or the place for more creative thinking.

Ms Taylor hit out at this, saying: "Creativity is about new ideas in any domain, even the world of work, whether you're a designer or a HR Director." She adds that UK firms ought to look for creativity in new employees, as well as determining their creative styles. Furthermore, if creativity is hindered, then some workers could be stopped from playing to their strengths, and frustration can emerge as a result which could have an effect on the firm's overall output.

Her studies outline how many employers are failing to create the right environment for creativity and encouraging brainstorming and valuing feedback.

Ms Taylor warned that an innovation drain could take place in business if employers do not tap into creativity. She said: "Ideas are the lifeblood of a company and organisation. Those businesses that recognize this and take creativity seriously are already poised for success."

Copyright Press Association 2013