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Where’s the spark? Creativity during the pandemic

by | Jan 20, 2021

What has your creativity during the pandemic been like? If you’re struggling, the official verdict is: you’re not alone…

Creative ideation is that frenetic spark that happens when a group of people are together, face-to-face, beers in hand, pacing back and forth against a messy whiteboard.” Elie Goral, Executive Creative Director, Color

This week the FT wrote an in-depth article about how we are coping with home working and its impact on our creative thinking. I thought the article was a great round-up of thinking about creativity during the pandemic by business leaders, academics and creative practitioners.

They report that a “survey of 145,000 workers worldwide by Leesman, found that 28 per cent of homeworkers said they were unable to collaborate on creative work while at home. And with the office likely to be only an occasional hub of activity rather than a full-time location for the foreseeable future, managers face a growing problem.

Leesman’s study is comprehensive – only 41% have a dedicated home working space, leaving the remainder working from dining tables, bedrooms or similar. And I would imagine that the impact of this on creativity cannot be positive.

Even the Bank of England weighs in

If anyone doubts the impact of creativity on the bottom line then Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, challenge that in a speech last year. “Exposure to new and different experiences — sounds, smells, environments, ideas, people — is a key source of creative spark,” he said. “These external stimuli are fuel for our imaginations and the imagined, made real, is what we typically mean by creativity.

“Homeworking can starve us of many of these creative raw ingredients — the chance conversation, the new person or idea or environment. Homeworking means serendipity is supplanted by scheduling, face-to-face by Zoom.”

Crikey. According to Nicholas Bloom, economics professor at Stanford University, chief executives are citing “creativity is the biggest single issue” during the pandemic. In addition, he states: “New ideas and new customers and new segments and new business models [is] all the CEOs are concerned about” in the long term.”

“28% of homeworkers in the Leesman survey said they cannot collaborate on creative work”

Creative offices designed for chance encounters

In recent years, office design has focused on creating collaborative spaces where people can meet to discuss ideas and hold serendipitous conversations. I was asked to write about this myself recently – this article looks at creativity during the impact and how to innovate over Zoom.

If you’re interested in finding new ways to tackle challenges, join our next How To Be A Creative Ninja open training in February. Check out the link to see our other courses, too.

In this article from Contagious magazine, writer Martin Lindstrom explains why he believes pandemic working practices are killing creativity.

He writes “This first dawned on me when I spoke with a friend of mine, the global chief marketing officer of Burger King, Fernando Machado, known for the Andy Warhol primetime Super Bowl commercial, the KFG campaign, and the ‘Moldy Whopper’.

He told me that nearly everyone he knows in the creative field is at a breaking point. Most members of creative teams, he told me, see psychologists on a regular basis. They’re simply losing their creativity.”

We’ve been seduced into thinking that translating our physical life to a digital lifestyle is a linear process. Not so.” Martin Lindstrom, Lindstrom Company

His advice:

“Recently I began skipping every second Zoom call. I shut down my PC after half a day in front of the screen, blocked my calendar, and allowed myself to think.

I reintroduced thinking time on dry land as well as in the pool. I reduced those 60-minute-long Zoom calls to 50 minutes each, reserving those 10 minutes for a natural break. Once I leave my office, I avoid the screen.”

What impact is Covid having on your personal creativity? I’d love to know – drop me a line claire@nowgocreate.co.uk

And if you need some inspiration and practical ways to boost your creativity, join one of our open training sessions online – find out more here.

Are you and your team ready to prepared to supercharge your creativity?

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