We’ve all had those precious moments when the light bulb goes off. DING! All the pieces of something we’ve been pondering just seem to fall into place with startling clarity. Are there ways of increasing creativity? There are!
Today we have a wonderful web-share that exposes the inner workings of all our best moments: how those flashes of insight and leaps of imagination, both great and small, arrive from out of nowhere and drive our creative processes forward.
Fascinating fun. This is very doable folks! We can make a sandwich in an entirely new way. We can tackle a family or work challenge by starting with a whole new reference point; maybe something that seems crazy or unrelated at the outset.
What if we tried one completely new activity once a week, something so unfamiliar that there’s an element of painful fun?
I think I’ve just seen this whole concept of increasing creativity in action. Here’s a little side story:
This past weekend, my daughter and I spoke to a meeting of 800 brilliant innovators who work for a company that is the world leader in international education, EF Education First. We had the most intriguing 3 hour tour of their extraordinary new building and campus on the Charles River in Boston. We met dozens and dozens of the most remarkably creative and inspiring people over our 2 days at the EF headquarters.
The consistency of this “energy”, at all levels in the company, was amazing, but is it purely a factor of corporate culture? Or is this unique alchemy enhanced by their surrounding, which seems to be designed by people who had seen this BBC program about how the creative brain works?
I can’t begin to tell you all the unusual design elements in EF’s new building and campus, but if you are curious, you can see some images of this inspiring environment by clicking through the beautiful photos of Anton Grassl at Esto.com.
This huge global company is even embracing an enormous skate park being built under one of Boston’s busiest roadway, not 50 feet from their new digs.
They do more than tolerate creative risk. They seem to design spaces and internal connections to encourage it, and all of it still underpinned by a fundamental element of stewardship for the wider world.
There may actually be some hope at the intersection between “for profit” companies and social advancement folks!
Bottom line: your environment matters when it comes to increasing creativity. If you can have even a little influence on your work surrounding, there is definitely some food for thought there.
So what if we can’t all work in fabulously stimulating surroundings?
What can we do? I listened to the last 15 minutes of that BBC piece a second time and came up with my own little list of “routine breakers”.
My new goal is to do one thing every day that scares me (thank you, Eleanor Roosevelt, for that timeless advice) or some small thing that takes me completely out of my element.
I had a friend tell me just last week that she has been stopping by our local soup kitchen once a week on her day off, not to work, but to just sit and have coffee with the people who frequent the place. She just listens, and they chat about their shared humanity. Sounds like a great step into new territory.
And for one thing that scares me today?… I am going to don blaze orange from head to toe and take a long walk in the woods with our new puppy. Now that’s scary! Why? Because this is the first day of deer hunting season in Vermont, which can be a frightening time for both man and beast! I’ll look forward to a burst of insight. 🙂
Try making your own list of routine breakers and see what you come up with!
If you do, please send it to us through our ‘contact us’ email, and we will share our collective ideas for increasing creativity here.
And the takeaway message? If we can’t work in an environment that enhances our creativity, maybe we can create it for ourselves: get out of our routines in strange and wonderful ways. Check out how I try to create that environment in an article I wrote last year here!
Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful.
~ Dr. Lynda
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