When you think about creativity at work. What comes to mind? Developing new and innovative products that meet some previously unmet need. New ideas. Taking risks.
Rollo May, an American existential psychologist described creativity in The Courage to Create as “Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.” The authors of The Creativity Toolkit define creativity as: seeing common things in uncommon ways.
Here are a few ideas for ways to foster creativity at work.
- Physical space. Creating physical spaces where people can come together to collaborate and be in conversation together. The interaction and idea sharing that comes from collaboration and connection with others can foster creativity. Imagine how much more creative your team might be in a tree house such as the one on the Microsoft campus rather than a windowless conference room.
- Time. When everyone is constantly under pressure for deliverables and deadlines, are they really being creative? Having unstructured time that allows teams to focus on idea generation and looking at things differently, without the pressure of deadlines. These times of lower stress can improve creativity.
- Break the rules. Okay, maybe it should be suspend the rules. Give employees permission to break/suspend the rules in the spirit of coming up with solutions and ideas that currently don’t exist.
- Take breaks. In the normal course of a day, how many breaks do your employees take? If your workplace is stressed, chances are they aren’t taking any. Not even for lunch. Taking breaks can provide the break the brain needs to refocus. A walk outside might be even more invigorating.
All of these approaches help reduce stress, improve relationships and give employees a sense of autonomy. All of which enhances their wellbeing. How are you fostering creativity in your workplace.