Creativity is all around us. It is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed, an act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. And the good news is that we are all capable of it. So if you think that you are not a ‘creative’ type, you can be. In fact, a key differentiator between a highly creative person and any other is the persistence to act on and turn ideas into reality. If you have this trait then you have your catalyst for creativity.
Everyone works differently, and understanding what gets your creative juices flowing is important.
Below are a selection of techniques that have been found through research to release your inner creative and that of your workforce.
Spice up the work place
Being creative is all about thinking outside the box, so try shaking things up a bit. An office doesn’t have to have work cubicles, rolling black chairs and bland colours; you can create a more relaxed and comfortable feel with brighter, more inspiring colours to promote free thinking and a sense of possibility. This applies to every space in the office, including the boardroom, meeting room, kitchen and even loo. Try adding some of these creative catalysts to your office environment:
- Adjustable work stations to allow standing whilst working
- Yoga balls as chairs
- Office sofas
- Books and bookshelves
Having books in the office is said to promote learning and creativity, while paintings are said to set a creative and relaxed tone. A study by the University of Exeter showed that office plants improved staff well-being by 47% and increased creativity by 45% and productivity by 37%. So get those green fingers in action!
Encourage play and take breaks
Stimulating games amongst employees reduces stress, increases motivation and can make people more open-minded, optimistic and creative (de Ruijter, 2017). Play is more than just fun; play really lights up the brain and is crucial for creative problem solving. This makes it serious business. Try installing table football or a pool table in the office. If that is not possible, then simply organising a football match or some other game between employees can work wonders for office morale.
Taking breaks is just as important as getting a good night’s sleep. How many times has an idea or a solution come to you when you’re relaxing or doing something non-work-related? When you feel that you’re out of ideas and creativity, it will benefit you more to stop rather than trying to grind out the rest of your work. Letting your brain mull over the problem subconsciously while you’re relaxing can bear fruit. Taking a break can be leisurely as much as relaxing. Playing pool, relaxing on the office sofa, going to the gym or going for a walk will all have benefits. But we feel it is necessary (since this article is about creativity) to tell you that research has shown that people come up with more and better ideas whilst walking rather than standing or sitting still (Entrepreneur, 2016).
Cut out the coffee
Something you probably don’t want to hear is that caffeine can suppress creativity. Research by nutrition doctor Michael Glade shows that a caffeine substance such as a cup of coffee will block the adenosine chemical in the brain. Adenosine inhibits other chemicals that allow us to relax and sleep, which is vital for creativity. The chemical allows the brain to wander freely and works best when we are relaxing (not drinking coffee). Taking caffeine forces us to focus intently on the task at hand, restricting us to thinking inside the box.
Many people have an idea of what they want to achieve and bear it in mind, but a firm and strategic approach to goal setting is one of the most beneficial things you can do. Having direction and focus helps with the sort of effective creativity that will accelerate success for your business and improve your work life. Spend time thinking through your long-term goals and plan how you will achieve them. You can do this by breaking them down into smaller targets, achieving one after the other to help reach your end goal.
It’s all about exploration and finding what works best for you. It may take you a while to figure it out or it may just hit you right between the eyes. Try our suggestions and always experiment with new techniques and ideas. Being patient and open-minded will only help you. We hope that we have inspired you to dig deep and bring that creative flair to the surface.