How to answer "How do you approach creativity and innovation in your work?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Employers are always on the lookout for candidates who bring a fresh perspective to their work. Whether you're applying for a creative role or not, innovation and creativity are traits that employers appreciate in all employees. By asking this question, the interviewer wants to understand how you approach problem-solving, how you generate new ideas, and whether you're able to think outside the box.

Your answer will help the interviewer assess whether you'll fit into their team and whether you're the right person for the job. Employers are seeking candidates who can bring new ideas to the table, challenge the status quo, and ultimately drive the company forward.

Keep in mind that your answer must be tailored to the job description and company culture. Emphasize qualities that the employer has identified as critical, whether it's risk-taking, lateral thinking, or collaboration. By doing so, you'll demonstrate that you've done your research on the organization and understand its values.

How to Answer the Question

When answering the question, start by emphasizing your passion for innovation and creativity. Explain that you enjoy being challenged and thinking of new ways to solve problems. You can mention any examples from your work experience or education of times when you've demonstrated this. For instance, you may have implemented a new process that increased productivity or come up with a creative solution to a challenging problem.

Next, explain the techniques you use to generate new ideas. You might explain that you enjoy brainstorming sessions with colleagues or that you find inspiration from various sources such as literature, art, or music. Then, provide examples of how you've taken an innovative approach to your work. You might highlight a project where you went beyond what was expected or suggest an idea that helped solve a significant problem.

Finally, make the connection between your approach to creativity and your fit with the company. You might explain that you've done some research on the company's values and understand how your approach aligns with these values. You could also emphasize your desire to learn from and contribute to a team of like-minded individuals. Explain that you're excited about the possibility of bringing your skills to the company and helping the organization thrive.

Sample answers

Good answer: I approach creativity and innovation in my work by staying open to ideas from diverse sources, such as my colleagues, industry trends, and customer feedback. I also like to brainstorm and experiment with new approaches, and I'm not afraid to take calculated risks. At the same time, I remain flexible and adaptable, willing to adjust my strategy based on what works and what doesn't.

Explanation: This answer shows the candidate has a collaborative and adaptable mindset, and is willing to take risks while also learning from failures. The candidate also demonstrates a specific approach by mentioning brainstorming and experimentation.

Bad answer: I don't really believe in creativity and innovation. I think it's more important to stick with what's worked in the past and not take unnecessary risks.

Explanation: This answer shows the candidate is not open to trying new things and lacks a growth mindset, which could be seen as negative traits by the employer.

Good answer: When I approach creativity and innovation, I like to consider both short term and long term goals. I think about what can get done now to make an impact, but also how a new approach could evolve over time. By doing this, I can strike the right balance between taking calculated risks and maintaining a sense of stability for the team.

Explanation: This answer shows the candidate has a strategic mindset, and is able to balance creativity with practical considerations. The candidate also demonstrates a specific method of considering both short and long term goals.

Bad answer: I'm not really sure. I guess I just wait for inspiration to strike.

Explanation: This answer indicates the candidate does not have a methodical approach to creativity and innovation, and may not be able to consistently come up with new ideas or solutions.

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