Think back to the last time you had an “aha” moment. Were you involved in a brainstorming session, or were you doing something entirely different—maybe driving or playing softball?
Generating ideas and setting the stage for an innovative environment require strategies that are part art and part science. The art is about mindset—believing that you and your creative team have the talent to come up with valuable ideas and giving your brains time to think and discover. The science provides you with tools and techniques you can use to stimulate ideas.
Here are 10 ways to incorporate the art and science of creativity into your environment:
1. Innovation isn’t just for creative types. Involve everyone — even outsiders. We frequently ask the UPS man to stop in and share a quick idea. Invite customers, too.
2. John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, once gave this advice: “If you spot any colleagues engaging in unfamiliar activity such as wondering out loud or gazing thoughtfully into space, poke them with a sharp stick and accuse them of wasting time.” Enough said.
3. Hang a giant piece of paper on your office door; at the top, write a question or issue that you need help with. Invite everyone to come by at their leisure to share thoughts and ideas.
4. Show a stand-up comedy video before every creative session. Laughter stimulates great thinking.
5. Keep magazines unrelated to your business in the office. Encourage your team to cut out pictures that relate to a project you’re working on and make a collage.
6. “The amount a person uses his imagination is inversely proportional to the amount of punishment he will receive for using it.” This anonymous quote says it all. Allow your team to get comfortable taking risks and support them for doing so. From small things like sharing personal anecdotes and wearing goofy hats, to physical challenges like trust falls and walking high ropes, seek activities that get people out of their comfort zones.
7. Hang an “If Only” board. Let people jot ideas, then use them to spark your imagination during the next creative session.
8. Have everyone choose a different hat, then participate in the creative session as if they were that person.
9. Trade environments. Going somewhere else to generate ideas—the park, a toy store or even someone else’s conference room—will stimulate fresh thinking.
10. Encourage people to do something with their hands during the creative process. While playing with toys and doodling have been criticized as being “too simplistic,” there’s scientific evidence that 97% of the nerves in our hands are connected directly to our brains. Busy hands stimulate brain cells.
Reach out: What tips to recharge creativity in the work environment would you add to this list? Leave thoughts in comment section below.
MORE RESOURCES FOR CREATIVITY