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Doing more with less is a frequently echoed healthcare mandate that demands strong creative contributions from each team member. Although everyone on your team is probably creative, methods to stimulate creativity and a progression of creative management techniques help maximize this essential resource. To be progressive and to achieve its goals and objectives, a healthcare organization must tap the creativity of all workers throughout its ranks but unfortunately, in many healthcare environments, creative ability goes untapped. For example, some organizations are highly structured and do not encourage or reward creativity. Other organizations encourage creativity but do not progressively reward creative contribution. For a healthcare organization to survive and thrive, it is essential that all members attempt to make creative contributions that generate positive results and further the organization's goal of high-quality and affordable patient care.

As a newly appointed healthcare manager, you have a prime opportunity to foster a creative environment within your department and to set precedent with the plans you implement and the policies you incorporate into your management approach. Creativity not only helps in organizational achievement, it also acts as a positive catalyst within a department, as it improves morale and fosters a sense of participatory allegiance.

The opportunity to be creative inspires participation from all members of the staff and demonstrates to them that what they bring to the effort is valued and vital to the organization's success. Creativity is essential to the growth and development of all members of the organization. To grow and develop on the job, your staff must stretch its wings and venture into new areas and explore new methods of achieving results. As mentioned, creativity is a primary healthcare mandate. With customer/patient placing new demands on providers and needing services that heretofore were either nonexistent or unavailable, it is critical for each member of the healthcare organization to offer ideas that might meet these consumer demands.

This chapter will explore the prerequisites for creating an environment, examine the fundamentals required to encourage creativity throughout your department, and, most importantly, provide you with specific strategies for boosting creativity and garnering new ideas and approaches from your staff. These objectives will be accomplished with a view toward how you as a new manager can apply these strategies to your own personal development while using them to institute new programs. After reviewing these strategies, you will be able to build a creative environment in which to exercise your own management responsibilities.

Establishing a Creative Work Environment

To develop a creative team process, the work environment must be conducive to breeding new ideas and new approaches on the part of workers. Furthermore, your team members must know that their creative thought will be valued and rewarded, so that they do not feel afraid or intimidated to present creative solutions. This of course, is easier said than done, for reasons ...

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