4 Simple Ways to Stimulate Creativity in the Workplace That Nobody Talks About
No matter what industry you're in, your team needs creativity to develop the innovation necessary for a competitive advantage or a breakthrough solution. "Encouraging creative thinking", according to Boland Jones, "leads to employees' seeing the bigger picture and leveraging productive focus on issues with a deeper business impact. While the creative process can seem less productive than simply churning out work, by ultimately transitioning those efforts to bigger-picture problems, workers’ productivity becomes more meaningful -- and the business flourishes."
Therefore, having the right workplace environment isn't just about aesthetics; it's about productivity and output. It helps to create a workplace environment that stimulates creativity.
Here are some ways to help your team feel inspired:
1. “Mind map” your ideas on a whiteboard.
A mind map is a diagram that you can create that has the main idea in the middle and branches that connect to it with further details about that concept. From there, each of the branches can list more information. Tony Buzan, a British psychologist, was integral in creating the mind map concept mind map concept, citing that the brain liked these visuals as a way to organize information and see it in different ways.
This is an ideal tool to use for brainstorming to stimulate everyone’s creativity in a meeting. For example, marketers can use digital mind map tools like iMindMap to stimulate the creativity they need to create a campaign or visual content that stands apart in their niche. By laying out all the possible ideas that may not connect at first when viewed in a text list, a marketing team can move the ideas around on a mind map to identify new connections that inspire a unique approach to that message or campaign.
“Other teams in a company can benefit from using this creativity tool beyond just marketing personnel”, says John Zachary Danao, a Junior Systems Administrator at Priests For Life and Technology Consultant to the Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. “For example, a developer team that needs to visualize how to design an app can use the mind map for brainstorming features and integrations. Or, a sales team may use a mind map to create their customer personas and accompanying messaging.”
2. Listen to music to stimulate creativity in the workplace.
For some, music is distracting. However, research has found that listening to upbeat music can help with divergent thinking that stimulates your creativity. Compared to those who worked in silence, the employees who listened to classical music experienced much higher levels of creativity.
Of course, not everyone may feel like classical music is the genre that inspires creativity. For others, it may be rap, EDM or some other type of energetic music. Select a genre that inspires you. Of course, you may find that mixing up different types of music also helps stimulate your creative spirit.
Create a playlist that reflects the different types of tasks that you will be doing and select the type of music that feels the most inspiring for the task. Have the playlist ready to go on your mobile device, so it’s available whenever you need motivation.
Try different music services, such as Humm.ly, which offers music with a purpose that can serve as a therapeutic solution. Their music playlists help combat burnout, promote mindful thinking and inspire greater productivity and creativity.
Also, invest in some good quality earphones that help you immerse yourself in the music without disrupting others in the workplace. With a wide range of earphones available in different sizes and colors, you’ll also be able to personalize your listening look.
3. Draw pictures or create digital imagery to represent what you’re working on.
The National Endowment For the Arts sponsored studies that examined the benefits of actively participating in artwork, such as drawing and painting. They looked at the ways in which the physical act of doing art stimulates the brain, including cognitive skills. It’s the idea that creating art keeps the brain more active and opens up further opportunities for creativity in relation to other tasks that otherwise might be inspiring, such as a project at work.
To encourage art in the workplace, consider hosting a paint-a-canvas event at work or at a nearby restaurant or home. This social collaboration can inspire your team to create art that may lead to further creativity in the workplace.
Other suggestions include providing employees with digital art tools and software to experiment with during work hours ... and on their own time.
4. Adjust the temperature, light and airflow in the office.
A Cornell University study found that the physical environment in an office and work surroundings have an impact on how employees feel about their productivity and creativity. Natural light, good airflow and moderate temperature appear to produce the best work environment.
Other studies also acknowledge the value of rethinking the office environment to provide greater comfort for workers. This, in turn, makes it easier to think and create. Another research finding was that green buildings -- natural light versus artificial, better air quality and plants and natural elements -- improve cognitive function and stimulate thinking.
Assess how you can update your office environment to provide better airflow and use smart connected thermostats to regulate the temperature.