“How to kill creativity: Keep doing what you’re doing”.
Teresa Amabile, a Harvard Business School professor, claimed this in her Harvard Business Review article. It has heightened the importance of creativity and challenged the conventional approach to work environments. The view has shifted from finding somewhere for your staff to work, to creating a space which allows your staff to thrive.
In the article, Amabile puts forward a compelling argument around why companies should rethink how they “motivate, reward and assign work” to their employees to encourage innovation. The way we think about workspace is changing, and it’s bringing some great benefits with it.
The reasoning behind this shift has emerged from the idea that if you walk into a dull, dingy, and grey office, your work will reflect this. Whereas, if you are excited to go to work in your bright and stimulating workspace, then your work will be more creative and of higher quality.
As we have seen with the likes of Google, Pixar and Skyscanner, some companies do this by designing a stylish and fun office space, along with a creative culture which employees highly value. In the past, Google ran a highly successful ‘20% Time’ whereby employees were allowed to spend 20% of their day working on their own creative projects. Although there was no stipulation that the projects worked on were for Google, this freedom for creative time produced some of their most successful products, such as Google Maps and Gmail. If you own a company of any size, there is nothing stopping you from making some small changes which influence the way your team feel when they walk through the door.
The connection between workspace, culture and productivity has brought a new dynamic to internal communications and employee engagement marketing. The workspace is now something that should be approached with a holistic view, taking into account, where possible, everything your staff are exposed to.
It is important to emphasise, that this shift means there is a much greater focus on your people. As highlighted by D. J. DePree:
“In the long run, all business and business leaders will be judged not by their profits or their products but by their impact on humanity”.
Therefore, in order to have an impact, you must create an environment which encourages innovation and creativity – repetition and humdrum will not have the same impact. The different, the bold and the new is what will be remembered, and what will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Your difference can emerge from your innovative product, or through the way you reach your audience and communicate your message.
Though your company is unlikely to have the same budget as Google or Skyscanner, you don’t have to accept an uninspiring and demotivating workspace. There are changes that businesses of all sizes can make to increase productivity through workspace with minimal impact on budgets.
It is also worth bearing in mind that one size does not fit all staff or sectors. Creative people tend to enjoy and benefit most from more extreme stimulating environments, while the more financially focused tend to benefit greater from the small, incremental changes.
Offering creative surroundings is a great way to show your staff (and those outside of the business) that you care. Your stimulating ‘quirks’ should be unique to you and what your company does.
You can paint your walls something other than white or grey, bring the outdoors indoors with flowers and plants, open the blinds to let in some natural light, introduce a lunchtime fitness club, declutter desks and keep it simple. Your team will appreciate the small changes you make to keep them motivated.
Do you dare to be different?
- Read the full Hardvard review article by Teresa Amabile: How to kill creativity
- Check out HubSpot’s blog for further tips: How to Turn Your Workspace into a Den of Productivity.
Genoa Black creates compelling marketing strategies, including internal engagement and corporate communications, for our customers based on strong insight and informed thinking. To find out more about how we might be able to help your business, get in touch!