8 Ways To Be More Creative At Work

September 17, 2018

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workshops, design thinking, ImageThink, visual problem solving

Creative Thinking: Not Just For Artists

We are fascinated by creativity: what is it? When do we stimulate it/ how do we map it neurologically? It isn’t just researchers who are invested in understanding creativity. At ImageThink, our graphic recorders spend a lot of time thinking about ways that visuals can spark creative problem solving. 
 
As technology accelerates, transforming our world at greater and greater speeds, creativity becomes ever more important. Today it is considered a fundamental edge in business and leadership.   

 IBM interviewed over 1,500 leaders across 60 countries. 65% of them cited creativity as the most important leadership quality.  

So, researchers and business leaders agree that creativity is important, but how do we foster it, especially if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly artistic or creative?  

 Not to fret; you don’t need to write a novel, star in musical, or paint a still life to get your creative juices flowing. Read on for 8 simple steps you can take promote creative thinking in your work place.  

 

Think Small to Make a Big Impact.  

A serious mental block can feel like hitting a brick wall, and it’s normal to feel discouraged when this happens. How do you fix it? Start forming a lot of tiny cracks that will work to break down that wall. Think: What are little things that you can change in your daily routine to create these cracks? Maybe it’s as simple taking a different route to work, an addition of a new plant at your desk, or changing your lunch routine.  

participants use imagethink's graphic recording tools to enable a standing brainstorm

 Think on Your Feet   

There’s a reason our scribes stand while they are graphic recording! We all know that sitting is the new smoking. Standing up is good for your mind, as well as your back. According to Andrew Knight, Professsor at Olin Business School, groups are more creative and collaborative when they work standing, not sitting.  

drawing out ideas is a great way to incorporate creativity into the workplace

 Draw It Out  

It’s been proven that drawing activates cross-cognitive brain activity. Approaching ideas visually will further activate the right hemisphere of your brain- the area attributed with creativity and holistic thinking. No need to be an artist, as even simple doodles will give you the same neurological benefits. 

 Get Inspired with Movement.  

Make space for your thoughts by taking a walk.  The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a fan of this approach, saying that”all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Science agrees. 80% of participants increased their creativity simply by brainstorming while on a treadmill in a study at Stanford University.  If you want an even bigger boost, the study reveals that taking that stroll outdoors gives you an even better results.   

Keep Inspiration Nearby 

Think of the last thing that shifted your thinking or opened your imagination. It could be a favorite quote, or an art piece, or maybe a beautiful view from your last vacation. Print it out, or bring in a memento that reminds you of a great memory. Make room for it at your desk. When you feel stuck, take a moment and shift your awareness there.   

Think About Your Space 

Feeling stuck? Switch environments. If most of you work at your desk is dashing off email responses, it is going to be hard for your brain to shift to writing a long form white paper in the same space. Help your mind out by changing your environment when you have to change your thinking. Change your surroundings and new ideas and inspiration will likely follow. Grab your laptop and find a new spot in the office or head to the nearby coffee shop.  

Adjust the Volume 

According to a study conducted by the  University of Chicago,  ambient noise was ideal for creativity, about the level of a hum at a coffee shop. Extreme quiet, like a library is ideal for study. Quiet promotes focus but not necessarily the abstract processing we need for creativity. So what’s the right balance of noise? Loud environments and one way phone conversations are creativity killers. Can’t control the volume in your environment? Put on some headphones and try one of many ambient noise apps.  

imagethink staff uses a visual thinking template to enable meaningful conversation during a meeting

Tap into Group Genius 

If you’re having a creative road block, you don’t have to face it alone. You know the saying that two minds are better than one? Turn your creative block into a group challenge. Recently, we were developing an infographic and got stuck on how to visualize the idea of integrity. We gave everyone in the office a post it note and asked for their suggestions. By the end of the day we had 12 ideas to choose from. 

 

Give Your Team The Gift Of Visual Thinking 

Want to take your meetings to the next level and find breakthrough solutions? Our graphic recording workshops are tailored to your team and your needs. You’ll find yourself drawing your way to success before you know it.  


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