One of the greatest benefits of working in Northern Colorado is the natural beauty that surrounds us and the variety of activities it creates for us. But inevitably when creativity clashes with deadlines and budgets, billable hours and bad karma – output can plummet to new lows. Here’s a few new ways for teams to find their way back to being creative in the workplace.

  1. Encourage Conversation
    Conversation at work doesn’t necessarily mean ‘goofing off’. When Steve Jobs bought Pixar in 1986, it was located in an old Del Monte canning factory. The original campus layout called for three separate buildings but Jobs scraped the plans in favor of a single space where the only bathrooms we’re located in the center of the building – forcing animators, programmers and management to mingle. Jobs knew that the most important function of Pixar was the interaction of its employees. Last I checked – Steve Jobs was something of a genius, not just for his accomplishments with Apple.
  2. Add Some Diversity
    Brian Uzzi, a sociologist from Northwestern studied Broadway musicals in an attempt to determine when groups of creatives are most efficient. What Uzzi determined was individuals who enjoyed working together often gravitated towards each other but their output was less successful. Uzzi determined that when a team of individuals had an average ‘social intimacy’ score, meaning not all the individuals enjoyed working together while others did – the result was increase productivity and creative output.
  3. Add Some Distance
    Lile Jia of Indiana University divided a group of undergraduates and ask them to participate in a creative generation task – to list as many modes as transportation as they could. One half of the group was informed that the task was created by Indiana students studying abroad in Greece while the other group was told that the task was created by their fellow students at Indiana University. What Jia learned was that if the source of the problem was far away, the students were not limited to transportation in Indiana, but could come up with all types of worldly transport.

No matter what type of business you’re in – solving problems is a part of every job. And having a little more creativity in the workplace can’t be all that bad.

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