Workplace creativity and how to cultivate it

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Creativity is set to become the most sought-after work skill in 2022. The World Economic Forum in its 2018 Future of Jobs survey found Western European and US markets will rank creative thinking as the most important employee characteristic. How can the modern business world foster the slippery concept of creativity?

As Picasso said, “the chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense,” so while building up sensible skills creativity can take a backseat. What does it take to be more creative and to nurture professionals’ ability to think outside-the-box? We offer tips on driving creativity in the working world and look at the role that shared workspaces can have.

Creativity thrives on down time
Author of best-selling book Too Fast to Think, and PR guru Chris Lewis says, “Ideas come from people being able to commune with a subject area with enough solitude for the information to be able to come to them.” His theory is that in the current age of every-type-of-screen-imaginable most professionals have so little down time that creativity is not given a chance to spark.
According to Lewis the best and most creative ideas appear when least expected, and never when people are trying too hard. Regularly taking a break from work, preferably in a relaxing environment, is the remedy.
Agatha Arêas, Marketing Director of Rock in Rio, based at LACS since it first opened, agrees. “Being in a space like LACS brings us unexpected things. Something like the fabulous view from the roof-top just lets us breathe for a moment and that’s important. Getting in touch with ourselves is much easier here.”

The diversity touchstone
Meeting different people from a variety of backgrounds is a tested way to become more creative. One possible definition of creativity is bringing together two old ideas to form a new idea, so this is a case where 1+1 actually does make 3. Organisations need to embrace out-of-the-box thinking in those they hire. This can mean throwing out the standard of qualifications and skills and taking a chance to gain a unique outlook.
Shared workspaces are a fast route to bringing people together who might never meet otherwise. In a 2018 survey by Deskmag professionals working in shared spaces reported more confidence and creativity as a result.
Tiago Venda Morgado, founder and CEO of EGG Electronics, a start-up based at LACS finds that the company’s shared workspace, “is a dynamic place for creation because of the variety of people here”.

Rewarding risk-taking and collaboration
Risk taking in business is not a new idea, but it’s worth underscoring that creativity cannot exist without it. For employees to be creative they need the freedom to put forward edgy ideas and to be rewarded for that kind of thinking.
“Working within a varied ecosystem makes more demands on our creativity and leads people to take more risks,” says EGG’s Tiago Venda Morgado, “It’s part of our culture to encourage that characteristic in our people.”
Rock in Rio’s Agatha Arêas considers that brainstorming is essential and, in those sessions, encouraging different points of view to come up is paramount. In her view creativity is not only for so-called creatives. “Somebody in finance can come up with a new idea and we will run with them. We have an informal approach and we encourage integration within our team.”
Ultimately, fostering creativity in business leads to innovation and that, in turn, to an improved bottom line. Simply hoping it creativity will happen is not an option.

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