Think about this for a minute: What is the most crucial factor for the future success of your business? Perhaps it’s strong profits, a pipeline of new business, new research and innovation developments, or a solid marketing and communications strategy. Regardless of what you see as your business’ key to success, I’m willing to bet that it depends to some extent on the creativity of the people involved.

In IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study, CEOs from organizations worldwide said that successfully navigating an increasingly complex business world will require creativity more than any other quality. Not only is it crucial for your employees to bring creativity to the table – it’s equally as relevant for business leaders to embrace the creative spirit as well.

Take a look at Fast Company’s 2011 list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies – Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Google. It’s clear that creativity and economic success go hand-in-hand.

But more critically for our industry, creativity is currency. The most successful communications plans include a mix of traditional ideas laced with unique strategies and tactics that will differentiate the brand from its competition.

So the elusive question – can creativity be taught, or is it a trait only the lucky might have? And further, how can you bring creativity in to your workplace?

Arguably, you can learn how to be creative – at least to an extent – by employing any number of the theories and tricks out there to spark your creative brain: read about a subject that is completely different to you, try taking a different route to work, use your non-dominant hand to do everyday tasks. Essentially, the point is to make your mind break out of its daily routine, and you’ll begin to think “outside of the box.”

In terms of business management, there are several techniques to fostering creativity and innovation in your workplace. One of our global offices recently created a series of very inspiring videos about this exact predicament which suggest the following three concepts:

–  The Work Environment: Allow time and space for your employees to think creatively. Perhaps let them allocate a certain amount of time to working on their own projects (as companies like 3M and Google do). Bring fun in to the environment – many of our offices have foosball tables in the kitchen to remind employees that it’s okay to take a few minutes to unwind from the stress of the workday and energize their minds – which ultimately allows people to come back to their desks with fresh ideas.

–  The Team: Consider how you might be able to construct creative teams in the workplace. Bring together people with different backgrounds, personalities and skill sets. Invite outsiders in – artists, musicians, kids or grandparents. This will allow team members to challenge one another, creating a whole new creative dynamic.