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Sometimes in life and business, reality meets our expectations. Other times it falls short. Even when we hope for the very best result we can think of, the outcome is still less than what could have been possible. For many people, the limits of what is possible is based on what can be imagined is possible.

Our imagination is a very powerful tool when planning or thinking of what we can achieve. Creativity is imagination and original ideas in action. For most of my life and career, I have always found myself in positions where creativity was both encouraged and rewarded.

When it comes to developing strategies for both new and existing businesses to grow, being creative can make a mediocre idea good and a good idea great. And if the idea is great to begin with who knows what its potential can be.

Unlocking the creativity of individuals, team members and those I have the opportunity to interact with when working requires one very important element. Without the individual's belief that success is truly attainable their willingness to be creative is limited. While it is not an exact science, it does seem that the creativity displayed by people is proportional to what the person actually believes is possible. Creativity and imagination help build a better business.

This same concept seems to be present when working in groups and communities as well. In the past I have found myself immersed in creative collaborations with community members from our region and beyond. When I team with people I would consider “creative” I find the participation level and engagement increase. Creative people filled with imagination come from diverse backgrounds, occupations, organizations and lifestyles. As a group, we are collectively stronger and the creativity in group settings has the ability to spark discussions and lead to a sharing of ideas to help create a better, more vibrant and prosperous community.

Similar to what occurs in the world of business planning and development, ideas and suggestions can jump off the flipchart easels and take on a life of their own. The concept of working with others to create ideas that lead to action and results can be a very positive experience.

If you are hoping for a few simple ways to get more creative in your own business, here are a few suggestions to get you thinking and working more creatively:

• Develop a more creative business model. Take a little time and examine what you are doing and how you are doing it. Are you stuck in an old outdated system or using inefficient processes that are less productive in providing your product or service? A possible creative solution could be also looking at other leading companies outside of your industry that have adopted or are using more creative approaches to run and grow their businesses. Create better systems and you will create a better business.

• Get creative with your logo and company colors. If you have been using the same logo, letterhead and color scheme in your business for an extended period of time, it may be time to spruce up your “look”.

• Allow your employees to be more creative. Some of the highest regarded companies in the world allow their workers a few paid hours a week to get creative and work on “side projects” or new ideas for the business. They encourage employees to come up with suggestions for new product lines and services.

Regardless of whether you are finding ways to be more creative on your own or encouraging others to do so with you or on your behalf, creativity and imagination help build a better business.

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