“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”
– Steve Jobs – co-founder of Apple Inc.
Creativity: they say you either have it or you don’t, a born trait that enables some to ‘think outside of the box’. However, I believe we all have the ability to generate creativity, especially in the workplace. It can be defined in a number of different ways, depending upon the individual you ask. The official definition states that one simply has ‘good imagination or original ideas’, something that instantaneously links with strong business skills. So does this mean creativity is of key importance to a business?
At a young age, we are encouraged to steer away from things that we enjoy as a child, likely to be told a career as a musician or dancer is improbable. This ultimately destroys many children’s chances of pursuing their perfect career, guiding them instead towards the traditional and more academically challenging subjects such as Maths and Science, in belief they will achieve greater success in these areas. But does this mean we are keeping our children’s best interest in mind by steering them away from creative choices? The famous artist Picasso declared that “every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once (they) grow up”. Many even believe that we do not grow into creativity, but instead we are educated out of it, right through into the workplace.
The workplace can be a monotonous routine for some, eradicating the possibility for an individual’s creativity to flourish. By limiting the diversity of someone’s daily routine, the desire to take risks and channel their inner curiosity is reduced; both key factors to the generation of innovative ideas. If these opportunities never arise, then precious opportunities to move a project forward can be lost.
Take a look at Google and their ‘flexible workplaces on wheels’. Set in the Google Garage, the large space was refurbished into a place for designers from across departments to get together and generate ideas to move the company forward. However, everything is on wheels: from the tables to the chairs, desks to the whiteboards and sofas to the cabinet, everything is mobile. This allows employees to easily work across the work floor helping encourage fun, flexibility and imagination as opposed to being confined to one place as they originally were.
Nonetheless, creativity on its own can be considered ineffective if there is no logic and reasoning behind it. This is where strategy comes into practice. Here at Cohesion we believe strategy in design plays a major role in a successful marketing project. By applying research, insight and analysis, design challenges can be overcome, unlocking new and original ideas that will help push a company’s business to greater heights. This does not mean cap an employee’s creativity, but to instead approach a project with caution and apply research findings to gear the creative direction of the task.
Creativity should be rewarded, supported and approached with care to help it flourish in the workplace; especially for those who struggle to voice and express their ideas or opinions in fear of being wrong. However, author and educator Ken Robinson states that “if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original”.
Everyone has the ability to be creative, where great individuality can come into play. It is where grand ideas stem from and thrive through the original concepts of individuals. Nonetheless, when put in conjunction with strategy the use of creativity grows from strength to strength.