What Work Environment Is Most Conducive To Creativity

Listed below are the responses collected for " What kind of environment is most conducive to creativity?"

  • Preferably a quiet one. One in which there is access to outside resources.
  • Peaceful Environment
  • A quet work environment with high ceilings and a fair amount of space is most conducive to creativity.
  • In order to be conducive to creativity, an environment must have manydifferent sources of mental stimulation including other people and things.
  • A room with music and color and a bunch of random objects that can be used as inspiration.
  • An environment where independence is encouraged and free-thinking is the norm.

"Innovation today isn't a sudden break with the past, a brilliant insight that one lone outsider pushes through to save the company." (Sawyer 155) Comapnies for years have been trying to figure out what type of environment helps spark creativity. (Sawyer 164-166)Some companies have done better at this than others. Companies utalize workspaces to help facilitate spontaneous conversations and social networking that help creativity to emerge. The company IDEO is the embodiment of a creative work environment. The structure of the company, as well as the environment has helped to produce a very large number of varying innovations. Specifically, the company encourages the use of portable furniture. This encourages employees to travel around the office and compare ideas with other employees. It makes it very easy to share and pass on ideas. The company also heavily relies on collaborative brainstorming. Take the shopping cart example, from the video in class. Each employee was given an area to research. At the end of the first day they came back with their ideas. Rough sketches and ideas were produced and then reviewed by the rest of the team. Favorites were chosen by placing a post-it note on the picture itself. When it was said and done, the favorites became the building blocks for the prototype. The team worked together to compile the popular ideas, and decide how best they could be utilized. There were several rounds of discussion and debate- in the end, a final decision was made (so that production could begin). By the end of one week, the company had designed an innovative grocery cart that stores wanted to use.

Most of the responses do not reflect the successful work environment of IDEO. Instead, many individuals described an isolated, peaceful location…free from distractions. The last response is a perfect example of this. It specifically references isolation. Perhaps this is attributed to the fact that creativity can be somewhat selfish, and our concepts of creativity reflect the ideal that creativity is the process of one singular individual. This inherent Western idea seemed to be a common thread when talking to the individuals we questioned for their project. Most of the answers collected can either be attributed to this common way of thinking. However, it is also possible that these responses are due to the fact that our subject pool was freshmen in the middle of exam time.

At any rate, this class has taught us the power of collaboration. Many voices are better than one. Although their are times where individuals need time alone- individual brainstorming sessions and incubation periods- research has shown that little sparks of insight occur when co-workers pass by each other in the hall, drop by each other's offices, etc. As companies start to embrace this new company design, floor plans are being modified. Meetings are held in stairwells, furniture is portable, and there are toys for stimulation. This doesn't mean that all structure is abandoned. There are still rules and expectations, they are just further removed from the surface. The goal is to provide an environment that promotes teamwork and encourages employees to share thoughts and ideas.

Two of the individual's responses are on the right track. They understand that stimulation is needed, however they still miss the key point…collaboration. IDEO has a toy room where they keep old toys they have built and where new ones find their way. This is not to prevent innovation, but to promote it. The thought is that old ideas can become the building blocks for new ones.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License