by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
REIQ Journal : February 2010
Permission to fail Amantha believes you can't be creative and have a perfect score card at the same time. This is why a supportive workplace culture is crucial for employees to feel they are allowed to think about innovation. "When sta feel safe and supported and not worried about threats, they are more likely to take risks, which is what a business needs for innovation." A stimulating challenge "The biggest predictor of creative thinking at work is having a challenging job," Amantha says. "When employees are allowed to work autonomously, as opposed to being given step-by- step, day-by-day instructions on how to reach certain goals, they will generally behave more creatively." It's also bene cial to align tasks to an employee's area of interest and to ask them regularly if they feel challenged by their work. Being creative and original doesn't always have to be hard work. Rest, relaxation and regular breaks can provide the fresh perspective you've been searching for. Similarly, sleeping on a problem or challenge, or taking a short walk outside when you feel blocked, can be one of the smartest things to do. It's a team thing Businesses should also consider the size of their teams. When teams are being constructed and created, organisational creativity is generally the last thing on the manager's mind. However, recent research suggests that the size of the team is strongly linked to how innovatively an organisation will perform. "A group of researchers at the University of Oklahoma examined the issue of what is the optimal size for teams that need to think creatively," Amantha says. "They found that organisations that were made up of very large teams (more than 15 members) were less creative than those consisting of medium-sized teams of six to 10 people -- a size that is considered optimal for creativity." Studies show that when a new member joins a team, existing assumptions, attitudes and behaviours are far less likely to be activated and, instead, the new person triggers new thoughts and behaviours. While it can be tempting to leave harmonious teams alone, Amantha suggests businesses try to rotate employees regularly through di erent teams to enhance creativity. Stimulating surroundings One of the best ways to stimulate creativity, according to Amantha, is to regularly change the physical surrounds of an employee's working environment. This can be as simple as putting up new posters every fortnight or pinning interesting articles up in the tea room where people have time to be exposed to new stimuli. Creativity also seems to be higher in o ces where there is an element of nature present and warm colours such as red and orange are also believed to promote creative and lateral thinking. "This occurs because warm colours tend to make us feel happier than cooler colours and when you're happy, a chemical called dopamine is released in the brain, making information ow more freely." Minimalism isn't necessarily ideal for creativity; an environment that contains many objects and textures is much more conducive to creative thinking. "One of the keys to creative thinking is being exposed to a large amount of stimulus, which triggers more thoughts and improves creative-thinking ability." It will probably come as no surprise that Amantha promotes the open plan o ce environment. "There is a lot of scienti c evidence suggesting that o ce environments where employees can easily exchange ideas and be sociable leads to greater creativity and job satisfaction." Beyond the brainstorm Brainstorming, a technique often used by companies to generate ideas, is not a forum favoured by Amantha for extracting creative ideas from a group. In general she believes that brainstorming is awed because it tends to discourage introverted people and also because people often don't listen. "This results in many thoughts and ideas going unnoticed and, as a result, dying before they've ever had a chance." Amantha suggests that an alternative strategy is to initially think about the challenge alone. REIQ Journal February 2010 19
December January 2010