Harnessing creativity in the workplace

Creativity on demand: Some lessons in how to channel your creative energy in a more productive way.

Creativity is often viewed as a mysterious and intangible quality that is bestowed upon an individual at birth. But, as every working creative knows, it is often difficult to harness creativity on demand as part of one’s job. Darius Pocha of Joylab - a London-based agency that works at the intersection of design, technology and marketing - argues that if we can begin to understand how creativity and creative processes thrive "in a way that is magical but not mysterious", creative individuals can actively channel their creativity in a productive manner and add value where it is required through design.

Positive power of constraints

Unfortunately it isn't always possible to control the conditions in which one works. There are more often than not four constraints which are present while working: environment, time, team and budget. While these constraints are unavoidable, they should also be considered powerful forces of creativity. Widely regarded as the greatest composer of the twentieth century, Igor Stravinsky stated that "the more constraints one imposes the more one free’s oneself. The arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution". When given no constraints, we don’t know where to begin. Constraints take away some of the choices made available to us, resulting in more creativity and better results.

Foster a sense of purpose

When discussing creativity in an agile work environment, Lola Oyelayo who fronts strategy at Head digital agency is quick to emphasise the necessity of taking a step back and continually assessing and iterating one’s work. Chief Technology Officer at One Medical Group, Kimber Lockhart, describes this as "often discouraged in pro-urgency environments" but that companies should not "create a sense of urgency, [but] foster a sense of purpose". Although in the short term this approach would appear to misuse time, in the long run a sense of purpose will save time as the motivations and efforts behind a project remain strong and time spent will be all the more productive for it. 

Stop the chatter

It’s easy to forget how one’s immediate environment can effect your ability to perform at your best. If you’re immersed in the ever-evasive online distractions, it is difficult to fully concentrate on the task at hand. By switching off all the various channels we are connected to on a daily basis, this separation inherently promotes creation over consumption. It is important to enforce discipline and learn when and how it is applicable to be plugged-in and how to utilise this to benefit your creativity. So while connection is important to learn and engage with a plethora of information, people and content, time for solitude is just as critical in creative processes.

Joylab and Head presented as part of the Future London Academy's Design Thinking and Innovation course. For more information on upcoming courses see the Future London Academy website.

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