Words by Liz Hollis
Pottery or language classes
Creativity flourishes when workers move outside their comfort zone, broaden their knowledge and do something they’ve never done before, according to research from the University of California. This makes for more diverse knowledge which creates new neural connections as well as boosting conversation and interaction.
A study from Indiana University showed that increasing psychological distance makes things seem more abstract and increases creativity. The next time you’re stuck for insight, project the problem further into a remote future or a faraway place — for example, ask “how would we solve this if it was happening 2,000 miles away or 100 years ahead?” This makes it seem less likely and allows you to come up with greater insight.
The creativity enigma
Studies show that we overestimate the success of group brainstorming as members often fail to contribute for fear of appearing stupid. Instead, write ideas on paper and pass to others in the group who then add their own ideas to the list.
Data from Sociometric Solutions, a US-based company that analyzes communication patterns in the workplace, found that we need to sit near others to interact. Research by Dr Christian Catalini from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found co-location increases the likelihood of serendipitous collaboration by a multiple of 3.5.
A study into Harnessing Creativity and Innovation in the Workplace from Cornell University found that workplace creativity needs objects such as journals, art and other items that are not directly related to the business, as well as a range of traditional and non-traditional communication tools, from white boards to coloured crayons.
This article appeared in The Possible issue 01, as part of a longer feature on creativity