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Do you do standardised work that always repeats in exactly the same way? Then there’s a good chance that your job will soon be automated or outsourced to a low-wage country. To put it another way: your current and future job probably requires you to be creative. How can you make a working environment that stimulates creativity?
‘Creativity’ seems to be a fashionable word. In every job announcement you’ll find it listed among the ‘skills required’. That means that creativity is no longer the preserve of graphic designers and people in advertising. If you draw up a quote in response to a client’s request, then you’ve been creative. Creative is simply anyone who thinks up or makes something that did not exist before. Is the quote automatically generated by your sales system? Then you haven’t been creative.
Sterile open plan offices are not always the best environment for being creative. That’s why more and more companies are setting aside a separate creative space. Couches, brightly coloured accents, photos of customers on the wall... Does it make you more creative? Not everyone is convinced.
What does work then? You should arrange spaces used for different purposes in different ways. A formal conference room will need a different design than a project space where a team has to be able to spend some time uninterrupted. And have you considered space for informal dialogue and exchange of ideas? It’s best to give it a casual look.
Sources of inspiration are different for everyone. But hopefully, your workspace is inspiring. Or do you feel yourself freezing up as soon as you get your desk? Then your work station might need a personal touch. In a different article, you can read how personal workspaces can increase productivity by 32%.
In the creative process, periods of intense activity alternate with periods of inactivity. ‘Incubation’ is a good word for creative time-wasting. You’ve probably experienced it for yourself how the idea came to you while you were walking, driving or just before falling asleep. The workspace can encourage this with a sitting area near the window, access to an outdoor space or, why not, a ping-pong table.
Visualising ideas makes them tangible, processable and transferable to others. That is why you can never have too many drawing materials at the office. Make sure that each space has something to draw on, a variety if possible: flipovers, whiteboards, Post-it boards and multifunctional boards. Of course you also need to have enough appropriate writing material, such as permanent markers and whiteboard markers.
Encourage notebooks, note pads and memo blocks for personal use. And of course with different types of writing materials.