Partner at Upping Your ElvisView Author Profile
Creativity is a force for good, so here are five reasons for make time for it in your working day.
Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the classic definition of creativity. Art, sculpture, fashion, photography, music, writing. I’m talking about the creativity that big business is after.
The life blood to any innovation process, that solves problems, challenges established norms and when done well, delivers that lovely combination of fun and commercial growth.
It’s intangible, difficult to foster and is often met with cynicism and resistance. But when done well the benefits can be seen everywhere: Retaining and attracting great talent, a vibrant buzzing work place, exciting and surprising work and a business in growth.
That’s the type of creativity that I love and it’s what’s been motivating me for the last 15 years. I want to share some reasons why I love it and in so doing hopefully highlight a few principles that may be useful for anyone looking for a more creative work place.
The most important thing to remember about creativity is that it’s a human sport that we can all play. We all have our own innate, unique brand of creativity that’s capable of extraordinary things.
Sadly, our desire to fit in to the norms together with our ingrained habits taking over to cope with our 24/7 lives, means we lock into autopilot and lose our shine. Days, weeks and months fly by without us really seeing what opportunities are around us.
However, when we set the right conditions and have the confidence and energy to be ourselves, we can win.
All the clever business studies agree that when people feel comfortable that they can be themselves the creative magic starts to happen…and that’s what I love. Giving people the confidence, flexibility and energy to be themselves at work.
5 reasons why you should love creativity too.
It gets you out of the office
Most work spaces are dull and uninspiring. The likes of Google, Facebook and Airbnb are bucking the trend and are hopefully a sign of the future, but in the most part my clients office spaces are boring, energy drainers. Creativity is a great excuse to get out of the office.
Stanford researchers found that going for a walk (outside) can spike your creativity by as much as 60%. So, to get fresh, new and exciting ideas, get away from your desk.
It gets you away from dull data dependency
If you want fresh creative insights you cannot rely simply on data. It is vital to get out into the field and spend time with your customers. Nothing beats gaining first hand experiences.
Being close to your customer wakes you up to their needs, connects you to them and subsequently to what you do, and hence provides the inspiration for great ideas.
When Joe Gebbia AirBnB’s founder had problems getting their idea off the ground "We used to travel and actually stay with our customers," says Gebbia. "It was the ultimate enlightened empathy—you were so close to the people you were designing for that it informed you in a way that, you know, an online survey never would."
"So by being so close to our customers we were able to listen to their needs and then design a product that they loved."
It puts a smile on your face
Creativity sparks when people are relaxed (when the brain is relaxed, your conscious can access your subconscious, which is where we have access to our less logical and more free thinking).
So, behaviours such as play, fun, experimentation, learning, curiosity, generosity, openness and positivity need to be role modelled and rewarded. These behaviours offer some light relief to business behavioural norms like analysis, risk assessment, rigour, planning and returns on investment.
Creativity gives people the permission to tap into their playful inner child and have some fun in order to solve serious work challenges in exciting ways. I love that.
It also reaps rewards, Richard Branson explains in his book , Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way “Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I've done from the outset.
More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin's success. I am aware that the ideas of business as being fun and creative goes right against the grain of convention, and it's certainly not how the they teach it at some of those business schools, where business means hard grind and lots of 'discounted cash flows' and net' present values'.”
You learn more about yourself
Creativity is all about experimentation. Stretching yourself, moving outside your comfort zone, challenging the status quo, not having all the answers and having fresh experiences. Living like this is way more dynamic and exciting and means every week presents new challenges.
You gain fantastic opportunities to learn about yourself, grow and develop. The key is to demand feedback every time you try something new out…what you did that was great and where you could improve for next time. As long as the feedback is landed in fact, you’re laughing. All the way to the creativity bank.
You feel more alive!
Creativity gets you out and about, away from your desk and exposes you to fresh, new, provocative stimulus. This is good not only for the body and mind but also for the soul. It wakes you up from autopilot, allowing you to feel more alive and connected to the world around you.
Wake Up! is a new workshop, app and book we have developed around the concept of getting people out of ingrained habits and behaviours which activate autopilot and waking them up to their environment and their innate creative capabilities. It is a simple, playful and effective way of making sure that every day is a creative day and that every day counts.
Wake Up! the app launches today and it's available at Google Play and The App Store.
Jim Lusty is a Partner at Upping Your Elvis, specialists in creative leadership.
5 Reasons why Creativity is King