by Frank | May 28, 2020, 10:35 PM
Creativity, innovation, development are the buzz words in our everyday lives. Pressure of being innovative is high not only in the industries that are generally considered the creative field, but in almost all enterprises, NGOs and institutions. Suddenly everyone MUST be creative and full of ideas. And that word ‘must’ is the issue. Creativity and innovation is nothing even remotely close to a thing that can be forced out of people.
Many times I have seen people struggling to do anything creative. They sit down in a meeting room with a task of coming up with that one idea that will change the world and skyrocket their revenues. And they sit there in their suits being all serious about it. You can almost feel the pressure in the air. Everyone is so concentrated on succeeding, everyone is trying so hard to be as creative as possible. And it does not work. Creativity never happens in such environment and with such attitude.
It is not that those people in the meeting room are not creative. Believe me, all people are. They are just not approaching the process with the right attitude. Of course, there are many factors that influence creation and ideation processes — location, inspiration, backgrounds of people etc. But even if everything is perfect and set up without fun there will be nothing.
Fun is the magic in the fairytale. It is the bubbles in champagne. It's the catalyst of innovation.
That for me is what being creative is about (..) having fun and looking at life though (..) the lens of a child
It might be hard to add to the process or the meeting room where innovation must happen. There is no perfect formula. There is no spray that will suddenly boost fun. Here are some tips from my experience that might help.
I bet all of you have had that person in a team who is just sitting there with his phone, minding his own business and sometimes popping into the conversation with “Mhm”, “Yes, we should do this” or “That's a great idea”. Weed out this contagious disease. Choose people that want to participate over people who have to participate because of their status.
Take a couple extra hours to make people familiar with each other. Informal session over a beer is always good. People who know each other will more likely spit out crazy and outrageous ideas in front of each other. As dull as it sounds, the stupidest name / introduction games that you remember from camp or first days of school are a good key to having fun and putting people's guards down.
Rarely anything is as boring as a work cubicle. Sterile, boring and familiar environment of the office worn spark any fun. People are used to being serious when they are at work. Take them out to a modern hip cafe or a university library. Unusual environments take away boundaries, release stereotypes and stimulate thinking in new directions.
Chasing the money is harmful for the fun. Allow people to forget that everything they come up with has to be business suitable and bring profit. You will get a lot more ideas and creative solutions if they do not have to be validated as profitable. There will be next phases when it can be questioned. For now just let them be a bit naive and idealistic.
Let people go far beyond any limits. Allow them to forget about any financial, social, technological or other limitations there are. If they want to go to Mars — let them. Who knew that tweeting will be so popular when the initial ideas came around. There are no groundbreaking innovations without absurd ideas.