Creativity is one of humanities most important and illusive faculties irrespective of domain. At home on our own time, at work training employees or anywhere-creativity is key. We often know it the moment we see it, but the question of how to foster and support creativity still eludes us. Solving the creativity puzzle is ever more pressing today than in the past, as economic growth and prosperity increasingly relies on getting creative people engaged in solving problems and developing new applications for tried-and-true concepts.
Over the last few years, a number of researchers have begun to slowly pry open the lid on the black-box of creativity and peer inside. What is emerging is a picture of the creative process that fits poorly with many traditional office designs and cultures. Specifically, researchers have identified the following 5 activities that stimulate creativity.
Time away from work.
Somewhat paradoxically, researchers have discovered that solving difficult problems, or coming up with new ways of performing established tasks often relied on having time to let your mind wander. It turns out that the old stereotype about someone’s best ideas arriving when they are in the shower or on a run are actually true. When your brain isn’t focused on the problem it can wander and build new connections to leading to those eureka moments.
Time to play.
Not surprising play, understood broadly is a great way for employees to experiment and bring out their creativity. If you’ve charged your staff with developing a new app, let them download a few different ones, even if they seem unrelated, to play with. Provide some amusements for your staff to blow off steam and break up the workday to help stimulate their creativity.
Office plants, and open spaces are part-and-parcel of making a creative space. Giving employees portable computers, multiple kinds of seating and work-station arrangements lets them tap into creativity by surrounding themselves with new environments. Add a little greenery and lighting on the same spectrum as daylight to make it feel comfortable. Sterile and identical cubicles with grey walls are the enemy of creativity. Knock them down to spur creativity and reduce absentee rates.
Flexible work schedules.
Where possible, allow your employees to work flexible hours. Everyone is different and some employees may find that their creativity peaks in the evening, or early in the morning. Some may like a longer afternoon break. Allowing employees to come in when they work best will help keep them fresh and alert.
Reduce outside distractions.
Its hard to be creative when you are worried. Messy houses, unmet social obligations and other concerns can weigh heavily on your employees making it tough for them to be at their best. You can reduce outside distractions by offering discounted housecleaning service or just giving them time to handle other requirements, ensuring you are getting their full attention at work.
Creativity will probably always have a mysterious aspect to it. But by following these tips you can unlock your employees creative potential.