Today’s workplaces appear much different than those of just a few years ago—all in an effort to foster creativity, collaboration, innovation and teambuilding. Former cubicle farms have been transformed into open collaborative work spaces. Neutral decor hues have been replaced with bright colors that pop. Vacant seats are common due to flexible working schedules. Incandescent and punchy pendant lighting stole the spotlight from bright fluorescent lights.
According to the New York Times, “Studies of innovation come to the same conclusion: You can’t engineer innovation, but you can increase the odds of it occurring.” If your workplace does not deploy many of the aforementioned tactics and you lack inspiration, you too can tap into your creativity and innovation. Here is how.
Pause to play. If you are stuck trying to find a strategic solution to a business issue; suffering from writer’s block or not sure how to make your presentation pop, forget the fact that you are an adult for a few minutes and ponder how it felt to be a young, free child without responsibilities, deadlines, etc. Retrieve a memory of a special playful experience and allow yourself to feel again how wonderful you once felt.
If you have more time, pausing to play for a few minutes will enable your mind to resume the task with a fresh perspective. Keri Smith, author of Mess: The Manual of Accidents and Mistakes and Wreck This Journal, recommends that adults try to be a kid again by doing activities they once loved. For example, build with Legos; color or paint; or play an indoor or outdoor game with friends or colleagues. Your creative juices will begin to flow along with the answers you need.
Make a run for it. When trying to develop a new idea or solution, allot a certain amount of time to research or brainstorm. When the time is up, walk away to take an official break. Chris Grivas, co-author of The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Result, recommends going for a run or sitting on a bench outside and people-watching which is called the ‘excursion technique.’ Time away enables the information to ideate and incubate in your subconscious where new ideas are generated.
Switch up your entertainment. Dale Carnegie said, “Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” Switching gears by doing something for the first time ignites the left hemisphere of the brain where your ability to learn things like new languages and logic resides. Seeing a foreign film; reading a book from a new genre that you typically would not have chosen and/or viewing an Opera or musical you have never seen are ideal ways to ignite creativity and innovation.
You will never know where the source of your inspiration lies until you give these tactics a try!