Positive learning climate – an essential condition for creativity

Creativity converted into innovation can give an enormous boost to an organisation’s competitiveness and durability. But before launching the variety of tools available today for generating new ideas in the workplace, a solid foundation needs to be laid for nurturing creativity. Research conducted by Vlerick’s Fauve Delcour, Tina Davidson and Prof Katleen De Stobbeleir shows that the creation of a positive learning climate provides this vital foundation.*

A ‘positive learning climate’ is an environment in which employees feel that there are more advantages than disadvantages associated with their efforts to learn something new. When an organisation maintains a positive learning climate, it signals to the workforce that learning is truly important and valued. This attitude can be expressed in practice through easy access to training, tolerance towards making mistakes, and encouragement for applying new learning to the job. In such an environment, employees are more open to lifelong learning, and they feel empowered and energised to develop their knowledge and skills. And this focus on continuous learning then contributes to making the employees more creative.

Learning and Creativity are for Everyone

In the report of their study, the authors discuss the influence that a positive learning climate has on an individual’s self-confidence and quest for professional knowledge – two keys to increasing creativity in the workplace. They also provide 3 tips for creating a positive learning climate in an organisation:

  • Provide ‘learning-rich’ jobs: jobs in which the worker has a certain level of autonomy, receives feedback, performs varied tasks and feels that his/her job is important or has impact.
  • Open the door to training: a personal contact point can help communicate training opportunities and make them more accessible.
  • A mistake = an opportunity: a working environment that encourages trying new things and tolerates mistakes does not view mistakes as failures but rather as opportunities to learn and to generate new ideas.

Have you been counting on a couple of exceptionally creative individuals to power your organisation’s innovativeness? This research indicates that companies would do better to foster a positive learning climate in which creativity is enhanced throughout the workforce.

*Related article

“Een positief leerklimaat als essentiële voorwaarde voor creativiteit” by Fauve Delcour, Kim Bellens, Tina Davidson and Prof Katleen De Stobbeleir

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