Creativity is so highly valued within enterprise – in startup culture especially – that it’s almost become a buzzword. Obviously you want your startup to employ the best – inspired individuals who come up with fresh, interesting ideas on a regular basis. Obviously, you want your startup to be innovative – otherwise, it isn’t going to be capable of competing with all the other startups in its field.

The question so many seem unable to answer is…how? How can you foster creativity at your startup? How can you ensure that the people at your business are innovative, creative, and passionate?

“In today’s competitive world, with its accelerating rate of change, no competitive advantage lasts long,” writes Martin Zwilling of Forbes. “According to Josh Linkner, in his new book “Disciplined Dreaming,” we have entered the Age of Creativity, in which each incremental gain is zeroed out as global competitors quickly copy and adapt. The only sustainable competitive advantage is creativity.”

“He makes the case that creativity in a company, large or small, doesn’t just happen – it requires a culture.”

Truer words are rarely spoken. See, the thing about creativity is that most people actually have the capacity for it, if it’s something they’re truly passionate about. In the same way that an artist’s greatest work cannot be done without inspiration, a web designer, app designer, or marketing professional won’t give their best if they don’t care about the business they work at.

For that reason, the most important thing you can do – the best way to keep everyone who works for and with you creative – is to make your business an awesome place to work. It’s to celebrate the successes of your staff, to give everyone a chance to thrive. In short, to foster creativity, you need to foster happiness.

Gregory P. Demetriou has the crux of it, I think, in his piece The Secret of Ugly Sweater Day:

“This type of outpouring of creativity, fun, and group effort is what makes a company a great culture,” he explains. “It’s what proves the point that employees are more than the roles they fill in any company. These are dynamic individuals, who bring many different important qualities to every endeavor.”

There are other factors that play into creativity, of course – all laid out by Zwilling, who we quoted earlier. It’s important that, while you encourage people to love what they do, you also teach them not to fear failure, hire as diverse a team as you can, and allow every employee a great deal of autonomy. It’s how they do things at Valve, after all – and it’s established itself as one of the most successful and beloved organizations in the games industry.

The most successful businesses are those that can inspire passion and creativity in their employees. Learn how to do that, and your startup’s well on its way to success. Should you fail to make your staff happy, however?

You may well be moving on to your next business venture sooner than you expected.

Read more: Check B2C Contributor Profile: Renata Magurdamov