Bring up your ideas in a nourishing workspace
A creative workspace is a garden that needs to be cultivated, so that your ideas can grow and flourish. The perfect environment for innovation and creativity comprises of six elements (and we will stick with the gardening metaphor, for now).
- A sunny and safe spot to plant the seeds of your ideas.
- The right environmental conditions (light, air, water).
- Nutrition and food for thought.
- Cross pollinators (the bees that transport the seeds from one flower to the next).
- Tools to give shape to your growing little plants.
- A nice vase or showcase to proudly present and enjoy your blossomed best results.
Let’s explore in more detail, what this means for your creativity-supporting workspace.
You need a “platform” for your ideas. A place, where you can manifest them, grow them, maybe store them for later, and show them to others when they are ready to be shown. In the workspace context this platform can be various things. Start with a simple notebook where you sketch or write down your thoughts. When you are working in a team, a whiteboard or some sort of writable wall will be a good place to plant the ideas.Think of a specific place where you store those immature ideas… maybe it is a box with sketches, or a pin board where you collect inspirational material.
Environmental Conditions and Ambiance
Flowers need light, water, and good soil to grow. And they need to be protected from storms or hazardous animals. For our ideas, we also need certain conditions that help them flourish. The right ambiance can help us get into a creative flow. Distractions need to be avoided. And all those critics and naysayers should be held outside, as long as the ideas are still small and immature.
Nutrition and Food for Thought
Inspiring materials, such as books and magazines, or interesting objects can help us to develop ideas.Install some sort of gadget or material library.
The bees at the workspace, who spread ideas from one person to the next, are our friends, colleagues, and coworkers. Talking to other creative people can be the most inspiring thing. Sometimes it is sufficient to simply observe them while they are performing their creative work. Hence, the workspace needs to allow and invite social interaction to some degree. Needless to say that you also need to hire a good bunch of creative people to inspire each other. Access to the outside world is also important in order to get input and feedback on your ideas, for example for potential users.
Once an idea grows, you need the right tools at hand to shape them. Ideas need to be prototyped, Paintings need to be painted, Music needs to be composed. This may be obvious, but make sure to provide the right tools to actually build your ideas. There is nothing worse than having a great idea, but not the right equipment at hand. Tools that are displayed visually can also be a source of inspiration.
At some point, your ideas are ready to be presented to the world and to receive critique and honest user feedback. Make sure to show them in the right environment and context. In your workspace, maybe you want to install a testing lab. Moreover, your ideas ca serve as inspiration for later, so place them somewhere where everybody could see them, for example in a showcase or as posters on the wall. You can learn from them later, either from the success stories or from the failures.
Think of yourself as the gardener who not only plants the seeds of
innovations, but who also creates and maintains the perfect environment to raise creative ideas.
As always, there is also a different perspective to the concepts mentioned in this post. Innovation strategies like lean startup and design thinking advocate fast prototyping and testing of ideas. As a matter of fact, “fail early and often” is one of the credos of design thinking. It implies that you should try to get negative feedback on an idea as early as possible, in order not to waste a lot of time and resources by developing something that has no actual use.
While I do agree to this view in large parts, I still see a lot of ideas prematurely rejected, simply because they were not developed enough.