From our childhood this question has come up again and again. Is your child naturally creative or did you do something to bring out his\/her creative side? Are there the haves and the have-nots, or is there another way of thinking about this? Can creativity be taught? Well, the long answer is maybe? The short answer is maybe not.\u00a0 Or maybe there really is not just one answer. There is much research done on the matter and some do think that yes, creativity is a skill that can be taught, and even assessed! Others are more of the mindset that creativity already lies within all of us, and you just have to find ways to ignite the creative spark.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPerhaps the question shouldn\u2019t be about creativity\u2019s nature vs. nurture status. Maybe we\u2019re trying to answer the wrong question entirely. Think about it \u2013 ultimately we cannot ever be sure if we can teach something like creativity or not, so why not instead spend time trying to encourage creativity for those around us? Creativity in general is important all throughout your life, but creativity at the workplace can be vital to personal and professional success.\r\n\r\nTo that end, below are some suggestions for leaders and employers to encourage the creative spirit in their employees.\r\n\r\n\tGet out of the office:\r\nI know, I know. This one may seem counterintuitive. How do we encourage our employees to create more and utilize this newly blossoming skill at the workplace if we are taking them out of the workplace? Just as you need to take vacations to recharge your battery to stay sharp at work, you must do the same for your creative mind. Take employees out of the office for a get together in the park or try working in that caf\u00e9 across the street. You\u2019ll be surprised what new surroundings and a little observation will spark.\r\n\tPlay:\r\nAgain, what? I thought we were supposed to be working here! Well you are. Play is an extremely important part of work. We at FocusU whole-heartedly believe in experiential learning and a vital element to this is fun. Whether it\u2019s for the sheer enjoyment of a new experience, or you like to mix fun and learning, there is always something new to try. The point is whether you take your team for a fun round of paintball or unleash their musical side, trying something fun, new, and different really has the potential to change your view of the world around you.\r\n\tEncourage work-life balance:\r\nAlthough this one may seem obvious, take a second to really think about it. If employees feel balanced, they will have the time to devote to things that interest them. Creativity can come from anything, be it something you love or something you hate, but chances are you\u2019ll find you are more creative while doing something you enjoy. Thus, if employees have time to spend doing things they enjoy, they\u2019ll have the brain space and energy to think freely at work. Freethinking can lead to some very unique thoughts. Needless to say there are some beneficial byproducts to this as well \u2013 productivity and general quality of life will also improve.\r\n\r\nDespite any research, personal experience tells me creativity is very personal and each individual has to find what works for him or her. I find my mind working best while I\u2019m high up in the sky on a long flight or while I\u2019m reading a really good book. Anything can spark creativity \u2013 a leaf floating in the wind, a train speeding past, or a sip of water. Find what works for you, and share it with others around you. Who knows, you may set off that light bulb for someone who needs it.