There are many ways how companies try to encourage creativity at work. Office furniture and desk organizations with thinking areas and “green zones” with fountains aim to offer relaxing atmosphere for employees to jump-start their innovative thinking. But sometimes that’s not enough. You know those days when you simply get stuck and nothing new comes out? You have a deadline and work just piles up and you don’t manage anything to finish?
Innovation is the building block of any business and as we nurture our bodies with food and drink we need to nurture our mind with adequate thought food. In order to awaken our hidden talents and bring forth our skills that can be beneficial both to us and our company, what our mind “consumes” can be of key importance for sparking our creativity.
These are three tips that can help your creative mind to work:
Colors, shapes, perspective – can literally influence how you perceive your ideas and work. When feeling uninspired and discouraged, disrupt your thinking with some relaxing photos of different landscapes, displaying different colors, locations, architecture, cultures. For instance, exposure to both blue and green in the study performed by Ravi Mehta and Rui (Juliet) Zhu has been shown to enhance performance on tasks that require generating new ideas. However, the color red has been linked with superior performance on tasks involving attention to detail.
In an intriguing book (What poetry brings to business – which also inspired this blog) Claire Morgan argues that language and different perspective on the value and purpose of language can boost surge of creative ideas.
She proposes looking, for instance, at the phrase colorless green ideas sleep furiously conjured by language theorist Noam Chomsky.
The phrase itself has no meaning or value. Some people would consider it’s pure nonsense. The words colorless and green oppose each other – creating notion of irrationality in the mind.
But in the game of language and poetry the phrase could make sense.
Think in the realm of series interlinked questions:
Is the green colorless?
Can sleep have a speed?
Can idea sleep?
Does idea have a color?
Maybe we can analyze the phrase green ideas like something new, yet to be born, to mature, but still invisible to us, colorless?
Furiously, breaking their path towards us, to be revealed and captured, but they are still sleepy in some corner of our mind, or ideas are keeping us awake, furious, while we try to sleep?
Interpretations are endless, with two opposing things, excluding each other, yet forcing us to find meaning, logic, purpose, connection, conclusion.. These associations evoke emotions and images that generate ideas.
So next time try to formulate your problem in the form of a riddle, searching for non-existing meanings. New ideas will begin to flow in and this is a fundamental way how poetry works.
Engaging in any physical activity can help us generate more creative ideas. In the study “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking” conducted by Stanford University authors document that creativity is improved by physical exercise. The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.
In your next search for inspiration, go for a brisk walk, do some stretching or light yoga for work. Giving your neurons more space and time to breath, you will feel more relaxed and eager to solve any problem.