Channeling Creativity at Work

Happy National Creativity Day!

National Creativity Day is on May 30th, 2024. As a graphic recording firm, ImageThink has the luxury of channeling creativity in all of our work, with clients and internally. But, we recognize that many of our clients don’t think they can be creative at work. On the contrary – there is always ways one can be creative at work. In fact, days like National Creativity Day offer the perfect opportunity to start thinking and working more creatively. In honor, and in approach of this special occasion, we’re providing you with some ways you can start channeling creativity at work, today.

Hand holding creativity tools - markers, pens, and pencils.

6 tips to start thinking and working more creatively

1. Start small

Mental blocks happen. When they do, it can feel like hitting a brick wall, head-on. It’s normal to feel discouraged, or uninspired when faced with such. Good news is there’s a fix. Unopposed walls and boulders can all come crashing down with a number of tiny fissures or fractures. Starting small will create the cracks you need to ultimately break down the barriers that stunt your creativity.

Think about your daily routine. Is there something you can change within it to provide a new, fresh perspective? It might be as simple as taking a different route to work, the addition of a new plant on your desk, or changing where or what you eat for lunch. It may seem silly, but it’s these seemingly small changes that result in a big impact.

2. Read this standing up

Sitting – especially for prolonged periods – is an understated drag on your health. We’re not just talking about physical health, either. Sitting in the same position for too long is as much as a drain on your body as it is on your brain. Exercise is necessary to get your creative juices flowing. It’s why, when you pull yourself away from deep immersion in a project to go for a stroll around the block, you come back to the project rejuvenated, and often with fresh idea.

This point is backed by research, too. According to Andrew Knight, Professor at Olin Business School, groups are more creative and collaborative when they work standing, not sitting.

3. Draw it out

Putting a writing instrument to paper in the act of drawing, sketching, or doodling has been proven to trigger cross-cognitive brain activity. This is something we understand well at ImageThink, and it is a foundational tool we use when providing graphic facilitation. Approaching ideas or problems from a visual angle will activate the right hemisphere of your brain – or the area that is responsible for creative and holistic thinking.

Not being an artist of a master draftsman is not a caveat or limitation. Even the simplest of doodles will provide the same neurological benefits.

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4. Keep inspiration close

What was the last thing you saw or experienced that completely shifted your thinking, or opened the door to your imagination? Maybe it was a quote you saw scrolling on social media, a book you read, an art piece, or even a breathtaking view from the last place you traveled to.

Print out an image of it or bring in a memento that summons that memory to work. Find a place for this image or item at your desk and shift your focus to it when you begin to feel stuck.

5. Adjust the volume

Extreme quiet, such as the sound (or lack thereof) you might experience at a library is ideal for study. It promotes focus, but not necessarily the abstract thinking or processing needed for creativity. A loud environment, on the other hand, can prevent deep focus and stifle creativity. The University of Chicago, in an effort to explore the correlation between noise and creativity found this, along with what they believe to be the proper balance of noise to boost creative cognition.

Ambient noise – at about the level of a hum at a coffee shop – is the ideal amount of noise needed for creativity to thrive. Even if you can’t control the volume in your surrounding environment, don’t worry. Headphones paired with an ambient noise app will work all the same.

6. Co-create

Pixar’s Co-Founder, Ed Catmull once said that “A movie contains tens of thousands of ideas. Creativity involves a large number of people from different disciplines, working effectively together to solve a great many problems.” Often times, problems require creative solutions. Turning to a group when faced with a challenge, or co-creating can lead to more creative output.

A group of people sharing ideas to combat a creativity slump.

In our work at ImageThink, we’re often tasked with the challenge of developing visual representations of complex topics and words. These depictions can’t always be literal, and instead take on a metaphorical shape. When stuck on how to visualize an idea, it’s not uncommon that we turn to other visual strategists or non-creative team members to provide their own suggestions. As a result, we’re left with a greater pool of quality ideas to choose from.

This inclusive exchange of ideas among a collective genius can help your team chart new paths to solutions that were previously overlooked or unexplored.

A final creativity tip

On the off chance that the above tips don’t work for you, don’t fret. ImageThink helps teams think and work visually and creatively every day. If you have a challenge at work that could use a creative perspective and approach, get in touch with us today. Or, check out ImageThink’s creativity exercises here.

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