Everyone knows that you need to apply creativity to your business to make it succeed. This creative effort has a clear end in mind – to develop new products or streamline your business processes to increase profits. But creativity is also an end in itself and you should be allowing time to simply let your creative juices flow.
Google's 20 Percent Time
Google has a famous rule for its engineers. It gives them 20 percent of their time (one day a week) to work on their own creative projects. Although some refer to it as 'employee goof-off time,' it's actually an essential part of the company's product development process.
What are they doing during 20 percent time? You might imagine some fierce paper airplane flights and solitaire games, but not so in the creative corporate culture Google has fostered. This creative time is allegedly responsible for such revolutionary products as Gmail and AdSense.
The company makes creative time part of the job for its creative workers. Only by experimenting with their own ideas can engineers at the company create unique, innovative products.
Are You Getting Your 20 Percent Time?
How would your business change if you devoted 20 percent of your working time strictly to experimenting and being creative? How much of your time do you devote to playing with new ideas and not worrying about outcomes?
Remember that brainstorming and other creative activities are not always goal-directed. One of the reasons you should devote a portion of your time to creativity is to simply keep the floodgates open and play with ideas. If it works for Google, it'll work for your small business.