Monday, May 28, 2007

Find Your "Creative Place"

Where and when do you do your best creative thinking? Have you ever thought about it? What type of surroundings put your mind in an open state? A friend once told me that he even had creative 'seasons'. He found that spring was his most creative time of the year. Ben McConnell gets bursts of creativity in the shower, and he attributes it to higher ceilings. For quite some time while I traveled for work, my idea flow was very high on airplanes. Now of course if I am stuck in a middle seat near the back this isn't going to be the case, but more often then not, I get off an airplane with a lot of interesting notes scribbled down based on whatever I happened to be reading about. In this case it can't be the high ceilings, but maybe its looking out the windows? I have even written poetry in airplanes at different points, and believe me I am no poet:)

I do believe that the concept of bigger spaces creating better idea flow has merit. The feeling of openness and freedom somehow transfers to thought patterns, making them less constrained. The next logical question is how to create work environments that will allow the idea flow to increase. Since this will be different to different people, much of this will be tapping into your own sensations of creativity and working with it yourself. In contrast with most places I have worked at in the past, my current office environment is very creative for me. It does have high ceilings buts its more a feeling than any ability to articulate why it works. In addition to the ceilings, I think it's the traditional building materials (exposed brick and wood, and steel) that are part of it in addition to the open atmosphere. In contrast, I find new age materials do not stimulate idea flow, even when working in space age pod like set ups I have seen companies try and pull off. Everything seems too manufactured, and it doesn't matter how high the ceiling is.

Additionally, I need some connection to the outdoors. An ability to look out a window, and connect with the biggest open space of all. This of course isn't always feasible but not all your creative thinking needs to be in a designated work space between 8 & 5. Experiment and find different creative places for you. My front porch (view shown in picture) for instance has become a good idea flow space for me (at least when the weather is good). Open air, birds, wind chimes - not sure what it is, but its not really about the how. If it works, be aware of it, and use it.

What works for you?

1 comment:

Patrick Lee said...

My best ideas seem to come while exercising by myself. This can be walking, running, biking, lifting, or anything else that gets my blood pumping and gives me time to think. This reminds me... I need to exercise more.