Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

7 tips on how to boost creativity in the workplace

Turning the office into a place of artistry.

Photo credit: Edu Lauton on Unsplash
  • Creativity in the workplace requires flexibility and a strong company culture.
  • Experts encourage lateral thinking and meditation.
  • A diverse and inclusive company also spurs creativity.

Letting creativity reign in the workplace is key to establishing an engaged and innovative workforce. The introduction of new ideas and new ways of doing things maximizes workers' well-being and encourages them to do their best for their company.

A job is a big part of people's lives and it should be fulfilling. Enabling workers to be creative helps create better-rounded people and new opportunities for business growth and innovation.

Creativity at work builds a foundation for greater business triumphs. It's not just the art studios that have a splash of the elusive muse. Some of the greatest companies today are also well-renowned creative powerhouses. There isn't a single company in existence that wouldn't want to emulate their success.

Employers and employees alike can implement the following actionable tips to get the creative gears flowing.

Foster a diverse and inclusive environment

Every company starts with a great team, where personal connections are developed through a fun loving and collaborative environment. Everyone should be drawn together in the common pursuit of their company's goal. Breaking down company silos is of the utmost importance in the pursuit of this goal.

Writers should mingle with programmers, managers should spend some time chatting with the workers servicing the clients on the ground floor. A pollination of cross-disciplinary roles mixing together keeps everyone thinking on their toes.

New ideas and inspiration will flow freely from one department of the company to the next.

The additional opportunity for diverse cultural and ethnical backgrounds to come together with their respective backgrounds also creates new opportunities for growth.

Encourage unconventional problem solving

Managers and executive staff should be open to new ideas from their workforce. Some of the most revolutionary ways of doing business have been put forth by employees. All workers should have a piece of the action when it comes to solving problems. Dan Seewald, CEO of Deliberate Innovation believes in a lateral thinking process that encourages unconventional solutions.

The best way to boost creativity is to abandon logic at the onset of a brainstorming session. He believes that asking provocative and ridiculous 'what if?' questions puts us on a path to coming up with unique solutions to complex problems. It's brainstorming completely detached from any logical grounding. It's something that you can easily try out in the workplace without the fear of judgement of any bad ideas.

Provide flexibility in how work gets done

Studies have shown that just changing where you sit at work boosts creativity and innovation.

Sometimes a simple shift of perspective is all you need. Switching up where you work can do wonders. Every now and then, take the work home with you and telecommute. By embarking on new places outside of the office, you can unlock new ways of thinking.

A flexible work policy increases work productivity. It helps to cut down on transit time and allow for a healthier work-life balance.

Establish a company culture

Wherever human beings congregate you're bound to find culture. We have many varying degrees of culture. The micro-cultures that arise around a company can either be incredibly fulfilling or toxic. Company cultures must be driven by a singular shared focus. When workers are given reasons to be excited to come to work, you've succeeded in creating a great company culture.

Dysfunctional company cultures on the other hand can seriously impact employee's creativity and overall mental health. The simplest way to establish a company culture to spur creativity is to just give your employees purpose. From purpose, a culture blooms.

Let employees take risks and experiment

Cultivate a culture that isn't afraid to take risks. One that also rewards new creative experimentation. Most of the time employees aren't proposing new solutions or ideas because there is a fear of making a mistake. Employees need to be given support, guidance and allowance that they can fail in the pursuit of creation.

One of the best ways to implement this is by being open to feedback and suggestions from your workforce or fellow employees. Sometimes this means having an open door policy or creating an anonymous space for people to share their ideas.

Look to coworkers with great emotional intelligence

The workplace can be a great place for knowledge sharing. There's a great opportunity to learn various skills and garner new knowledge from your peers in the company. Encourage others to share what they know with different parts of the team.

This can help workers discover new interests and spark new creative pursuits that they can bring back to their role. It's also important to develop your emotional intelligence and look to others who display high rates of it for guidance.

Author Daniel Goleman, who's researched emotional intelligence in business, found that it is more important than IQ for success in the workplace.

"This turns out to be one of the strongest predictors of success in any field… The surprise was this: IQ correlated zero, zero with their success as rated by peers. Emotional intelligence correlated very, very highly."

Create a space for self-reflection and meditation

When the busy season strikes, it's easy for people to start getting too focused on their work and forget about the bigger picture. During times like these, creativity is lacking. The best thing to do during a time like this is to step out of the madness for a few mindful moments everyday.

Getting people into the habit of conducting self-reflections can help them center themselves and avoid stress or burn-out – two things that limit creativity. Just a simple check-in with yourself does wonders. Cultivating a regular schedule of meditation will take this to the next level.

Emptying the mind is a great way to fill it.

Hulu's original movie "Palm Springs" is the comedy we needed this summer

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.

Gear
  • Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
  • As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
  • The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
Keep reading Show less

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

Keep reading Show less

Our ‘little brain’ turns out to be pretty big

The multifaceted cerebellum is large — it's just tightly folded.

Image source: Sereno, et al
Mind & Brain
  • A powerful MRI combined with modeling software results in a totally new view of the human cerebellum.
  • The so-called 'little brain' is nearly 80% the size of the cerebral cortex when it's unfolded.
  • This part of the brain is associated with a lot of things, and a new virtual map is suitably chaotic and complex.

Just under our brain's cortex and close to our brain stem sits the cerebellum, also known as the "little brain." It's an organ many animals have, and we're still learning what it does in humans. It's long been thought to be involved in sensory input and motor control, but recent studies suggests it also plays a role in a lot of other things, including emotion, thought, and pain. After all, about half of the brain's neurons reside there. But it's so small. Except it's not, according to a new study from San Diego State University (SDSU) published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

A neural crêpe

A new imaging study led by psychology professor and cognitive neuroscientist Martin Sereno of the SDSU MRI Imaging Center reveals that the cerebellum is actually an intricately folded organ that has a surface area equal in size to 78 percent of the cerebral cortex. Sereno, a pioneer in MRI brain imaging, collaborated with other experts from the U.K., Canada, and the Netherlands.

So what does it look like? Unfolded, the cerebellum is reminiscent of a crêpe, according to Sereno, about four inches wide and three feet long.

The team didn't physically unfold a cerebellum in their research. Instead, they worked with brain scans from a 9.4 Tesla MRI machine, and virtually unfolded and mapped the organ. Custom software was developed for the project, based on the open-source FreeSurfer app developed by Sereno and others. Their model allowed the scientists to unpack the virtual cerebellum down to each individual fold, or "folia."

Study's cross-sections of a folded cerebellum

Image source: Sereno, et al.

A complicated map

Sereno tells SDSU NewsCenter that "Until now we only had crude models of what it looked like. We now have a complete map or surface representation of the cerebellum, much like cities, counties, and states."

That map is a bit surprising, too, in that regions associated with different functions are scattered across the organ in peculiar ways, unlike the cortex where it's all pretty orderly. "You get a little chunk of the lip, next to a chunk of the shoulder or face, like jumbled puzzle pieces," says Sereno. This may have to do with the fact that when the cerebellum is folded, its elements line up differently than they do when the organ is unfolded.

It seems the folded structure of the cerebellum is a configuration that facilitates access to information coming from places all over the body. Sereno says, "Now that we have the first high resolution base map of the human cerebellum, there are many possibilities for researchers to start filling in what is certain to be a complex quilt of inputs, from many different parts of the cerebral cortex in more detail than ever before."

This makes sense if the cerebellum is involved in highly complex, advanced cognitive functions, such as handling language or performing abstract reasoning as scientists suspect. "When you think of the cognition required to write a scientific paper or explain a concept," says Sereno, "you have to pull in information from many different sources. And that's just how the cerebellum is set up."

Bigger and bigger

The study also suggests that the large size of their virtual human cerebellum is likely to be related to the sheer number of tasks with which the organ is involved in the complex human brain. The macaque cerebellum that the team analyzed, for example, amounts to just 30 percent the size of the animal's cortex.

"The fact that [the cerebellum] has such a large surface area speaks to the evolution of distinctively human behaviors and cognition," says Sereno. "It has expanded so much that the folding patterns are very complex."

As the study says, "Rather than coordinating sensory signals to execute expert physical movements, parts of the cerebellum may have been extended in humans to help coordinate fictive 'conceptual movements,' such as rapidly mentally rearranging a movement plan — or, in the fullness of time, perhaps even a mathematical equation."

Sereno concludes, "The 'little brain' is quite the jack of all trades. Mapping the cerebellum will be an interesting new frontier for the next decade."

Economists show how welfare programs can turn a "profit"

What happens if we consider welfare programs as investments?

A homeless man faces Wall Street

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A recently published study suggests that some welfare programs more than pay for themselves.
  • It is one of the first major reviews of welfare programs to measure so many by a single metric.
  • The findings will likely inform future welfare reform and encourage debate on how to grade success.
Keep reading Show less
Videos

Unhappy at work? How to find meaning and maintain your mental health

Finding a balance between job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle is not easy.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast