You never know when or where the next big idea will hit you. You may be singing in the shower, driving in your car, or sitting at the office. Wherever you are, the types of ideas you generate are often influenced by your surroundings. Whether it's a bustling urban setting with vibrant sights and sounds or the quiet retreat of a rural farmhouse, your work space plays an important role. Immersing yourself in an inspiring atmosphere, one in which you can comfortably spend long hours dreaming, inventing, and working is crucial to reaching your creative potential and should be carefully considered.
Too often, corporations design employee workspaces with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. If you run a creative-based business and you haven’t placed special emphasis on the environment in which your creative team works, this can prove detrimental to your business. A few years ago I paid a visit to a local creative company and was escorted through tight hallways, across dingy carpeting and back into an office worthy of being a broom closet. The battered furniture and atrocious fluorescent lighting were the worst setting for any type of work, let alone an incubator for inspiration and creativity. This uninspired office setting was a slow death to the creativity that could have made this company successful – the company is now out of business. A little paint and some clean, inexpensive furniture might have made a difference and provided inspiration, motivation, and a sense of pride for the employees working there. When an employer shows little or no regard for the environment in which its employees work, they'll feel it, and their response will be manifested in their work.
When crafting a creative environment, it's important to collaborate with the individuals who will be working in the space. Investigate a variety of areas and think about how they have the potential to influence different thinking. Take noises into account, visual distractors or stimuli, lighting, temperature, and even smells. If your employees have fallen into a rut, or feel uninspired – change the space. If it’s too noisy, create quiet areas. If it’s too cluttered, straighten it up; too boring, add colors, objects, or photos. Providing opportunities for physical activity can also help spark imaginations. Encourage tooling around the office on a scooter, jumping rope, playing hopscotch or wacky shuffleboard. There are a lot of simple, inexpensive things you can do to bring on more inspiration.
As you create an optimal workspace consider where you generated your last great idea. What influencers were present?
Where do you dream or imagine the most; where do you feel comfortable to express your ideas?
Are there areas you can brainstorm together? Are there quiet areas for thinking and individual idea generation?
What equipment do you need nearby? Is there adequate storage and display room? Is there enough room to spread out for large projects?
Some creative individuals need nothing more than their imaginations, no matter where they are, their work is not affected by their environment. If you’re one of those individuals, consider yourself fortunate. For those who are influenced by their surroundings, some thoughtful planning may be needed to achieve an optimal environment for creativity. You will need to be just as creative with designing a great environment as you are with generating your next great idea.