Does your business have a creative space?
Now here is a business idea I love and have adopted myself.
At one of my clients’ offices I saw a glassed off area within their normal offices. Inside were beanbags, funky paintings, an area with jelly beans and other treats, wipeable painted walls and decor that suggested a fun, light and airy playground rather than a stuffy office environment. This was their creative area.
Employee team meetings were held in this area and the whole emphasis was on being creative. No idea was too silly or nuts not to be considered. It was scribbled up on the walls and then followed or discarded by further scribbling and noted thought processes.
Enjoyment and relaxation while thinking was the raison d’etre of this room and my client advised me that some startling yet great ideas had come from meetings such as these which had then shaped the company’s onward policies and tactics.
Brilliant. And I can’t see why this would not work in any office, industry environment. If we want the best from ourselves and our people surely creativity is where we will find it?
Making a creative space for yourself or your employees
If you are an entrepreneur and working from home it can be difficult to have that creative space. Maybe your office doubles up as a study for other members of the household or is just a space in the family living room. If possible, try to create a separate space for thinking and working, away from family and home life. I know entrepreneurs who use their conservatory or even their sheds as creative spaces. Outdoors can be a great place to think. If this isn’t possible, then home-based business owners could take themselves off for a spa day or play a round of golf, to relax, chat, and think away from the “office”.
If you are a business then consider creating a brainstorming, creative space for employees, following the example of my client. You may need to get creative to make the space, so think about those unused areas that you keep for occasional use or those landings between offices that generally have a few plants a picture and a couple of chairs nobody ever sits in. As meetings tend to be outside client hours (or should be) – landings are a greatly unused space perfect for some free thinking.
The benefits of creative space for innovation
Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. All too often business is told it needs to be innovative but has few tools with which to inspire innovation. So, brainstorming meetings take place weekly, in the same surroundings that are styled for professional conformity. It is kind of hard to think outside of the box, from within a box.
What goes on in the space you choose is important; relaxed rules, no idea too foolish etc…but the actual environment has an impact on the thinking taking place. How many of you have had great ideas relaxing in the bath? Or out jogging, or simply lazing in your back garden? The reason is that your mind has been freed from the routine thinking that characterises your daily work life.
Now, I am not suggesting a bath time team brainstorming; but a relaxed and informal environment frees the mind from the constricts of corporate thinking.
Plants, real ones, releasing oxygen feed the brain and running water has been shown to calm the brain waves and allow freer thinking. There is another upside to this which is more engaged and loyal employees. Allowing a space for creative thinking empowers employees and encourages them to contribute to the company strategy. This then gives them a sense of ownership of company progress which is highly motivating. Motivated employees tend to be more productive, so it’s a win, win, scenario.
So, next time you are trying to infuse some energy and change into your company, consider- do you have a creative space to enable those potential brilliant ideas?