As new technologies emerge and the digital sphere becomes more complex, companies around the world, such as Taco Bell, Dropbox and Prezi, are cultivating creativity in their teams to gain a competitive edge.

Creativity is a powerful force for business innovation and these three companies help their employees get inspired by allowing space for professional development, building diverse teams, and collaborating together on projects.

To be successful in the changing marketplace, marketing leaders must be adaptable and flexible and develop creative and new ways of marketing their brand. It’s not always easy to carry out, but the rewards are worth it. Here are 5 ways the modern CMO can inspire creativity in their team:


Expose your team to new opportunities. Give your team of creatives the opportunity to experiment within their department. For example, give an employee who commonly works with print, the chance to work with digital. This can help to broaden their skills sets, stretch their thinking and give an opportunity for personal improvement. Employees can also be given the opportunity to work with creative side projects. At Google, for example, employees utilize 20% of their working hours to work on creative personal projects.

Challenge your processes. Innovation and change go hand in hand. As technologies advance, creative leaders must challenge existing processes within their department. While a certain process might be working, habits can be risky in the creative industry. Implementing small changes and breaking patterns, such as altering a morning routine or brainstorming as a team instead of alone, could help creatives develop their skills, gain new ideas and find new ways of thinking.

Encourage brainstorming and experimentation. Give your team the opportunity to brainstorm and experiment as a team and let them know that it is OK to fail.  Even if attempts fail, teams learn lessons about working together and co-creating for the future. Leaders can also encourage their employees to brainstorm several ideas for a project prior to coming into work. This gives all team members, introverts and extroverts, the opportunity to pitch in and come up with their own creative ideas without the time constraints of a work day or a meeting.

Build a diverse team. Instead of playing it safe and building a homogeneous team, bring on a team of people with diverse skills and assets. A diverse team can include differences in age, sex, race, and sexual orientation, but also personality, professional history, and personal interests.  The diverse experiences of each team member can widen creative ability to problem solve and understand different perspectives. Deloitte, for example, has built a diverse team of people to serve as a creative powerhouse when interacting with a range of different customers.

Define the objective and let the team innovate. Draw out creativity in your team by helping them understand the goal of the project and fostering a way to arrive at the endpoint. Surround them with what they need to get the work done, provide guidance and support your team as they innovate.

With support and encouragement, marketing directors and team leaders can unlock creativity in their team. As marketing teams begin to engage and operate creatively, companies will grow, evolve and reap the rewards in an ever-changing digital marketplace.