Many of us boast about our creativity. Many more run screaming for the hills when the word ‘creativity’ is mentioned. Myers-Briggs tells me I’m split about straight down the middle on creativity vs. logic. There is a heated conversation between professionals about what makes someone creative. Where are you on the creativity spectrum? If you work in the field of communications, the likelihood is that you engage a sizeable chunk of your right brain in your daily work. But how much is too much? or more importantly not enough? And how is creativity measured?
We all know creativity is valued and highly desirably in our industry. In fact, it can be the difference between winning awards and not being the “also-rans.” And we all know that impact that awards have on our bottom line, don’t we? Yes! You can attract new business with your shiny new award and keep the business stealers at bay for at least a year.
So how does your organisation nurture creativity in its people? There’s a whole industry dedicated to teasing out those game-changing ideas from staff and while they all enjoy varying levels of success, there is one thing you can control in your march for the competitive edge of creativity. And that’s you!
There is an array of tools available to PR, social marketers and agency creatives, to help them simplify their workload, making it faster, simpler, more immediate. But where is the time for creative reflection to keep ideas fresh and pursue innovation?
Indulge me while I reminisce for a while, to a sultry summer afternoon in a South London suburb and yours truly was at work in a newly converted office, which used to be a church, complete with lofty eaves. I was – steel yourself reader -looking out of the WINDOW! I was also in the midst of selling in a story to journalists but taking five minutes to think. Working out how to position the story to make it most appealing to the busy journo at the other end of the ‘phone. Working out whether to go straight for the core message, or should I meander to the point, gauging his or her level of interest first? I was in the middle of this imaginary conversation when PING! An email from my boss arrived, which read something like..”I notice you are gazing out the window, I do not pay you to gave out of the window, you are supposed to be on the ‘phone to journalists!
My answer reader was polite, eloquent even. Suffice to say, I took my ideas and enthusiasm and applied them elsewhere!
Getting back to the drift of the article, was she right or wrong, or was I? The real question about the permissibility of personal thinking time at work. Whether you are a contractor or an employee, the pressures are intense, being seen to be doing something is the over riding culture is many places. Trendy agencies and forward-thinking companies like Google have long cottoned on value in creating a comfortable, ostensibly slower paced working environment to encourage creative thinking and stimulate brand extending ideas.
In the super-fast workspace that we inhabit, it seems that the most covetable commodity to offer employees is time. Time to look sideways at issues, time to turn problems on their heads and to stretch yourself intellectually. Time to productively gaze out of the window!
Here’s my sanity saving seven-step plan for creativity ( you will need to use your initiative about how easy these techniques will be to apply in your work space/lunch break):
1. Visit art galleries or museums with a note book and smartphone
2. Talk to people in totally different careers sectors to yourself
3. Talk to people in your organisation who are employed in customer-facing roles
4. Pretend your are someone else…’if I were xx what would I think about this issue?”
5. Read a dictionary! Not cover to cover (!) but flicking through can stimulate your imagination
6. Listen to inspirational speakers either live on in the internet – overcoming adversity tunes into your brain’s ‘fight or flight’ mechanism
7. Listen to classical music (particularly Mozart, Bach, Handel) the light and repetitive rhythms lower the heart rate, you feel less anxious and the ideas start to flow!
Here’s what those chaps at the Blur Group are saying about ideas and how to keep yourself open to them..
In essence I think that…
“Creativity is a spark, the result of a confluence of thought and feeling”
© Suzy Rigg