“We recognize ideas as they form in our imagination, but often for the unexpected or unusual ideas, the logical and judgmental aspects of our recognition system need to be preoccupied with other duties for these ideas to be considered. This is what happens when we are driving, walking, exercising or dreaming.”
Associate Show Producer
Walt Disney Imagineering Florida
We pride ourselves on being creative here at R+M. We have some very talented folks thinking of creative solutions for our clients. I can attribute most of it to hiring crazy awesome people, but recently I stumbled across a few articles that made me think our inability to sit still might be making us MORE creative.
The quote from Gary Landrum fascinates me, because it’s fresh and makes so much sense. There’s a part of our brain that can get in the way when we’re trying to be creative. Occupying that part of our brain will free up our creative processes. At R+M, we do it unknowingly. As I sit here and type this, my colleagues continue to walk past my office engaged in hallway conversations. From launching a new service for our clients, editing a track of audio, recapping a client’s very successful tradeshow experience to landing new business – all of them have their creative juices flowing.
Getting up and moving around is good for your body as well as your brain. Lowering our resting blood pressure, reducing obesity, improving our working memory are benefits I think we can all recognize, but staying active to unleash creativity, unexpected and unusual ideas is what makes working here fun.
Everyone, no matter where you work, can find opportunities to get up, move around and discover more creative solutions to whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish. One interesting idea that we’ve started to implement here is walking meetings. Some meetings require a monitor or a white board, but if you’re just sitting at a table across from one another, why not get up and head outside for a 15-minute walk?
Steve Jobs was famous for this. He would often take his colleagues on strolls outside to discuss business. This was a guy who knew something about creativity. He was probably inspired by Aristotle and his peripatetic teaching. Aristotle preferred to lecture to his students while walking.
One of the more fascinating things about Steve Jobs and his philosophy on encouraging creativity was his approach to designing the headquarters at Pixar. A large, central atrium encouraged employees to have random face-to-face interactions. R+M’s space is designed very similar (but on a much, much, much smaller scale). Spontaneous meetings, random discussions and hallway brainstorming elevates our creativity and collaboration. I think Steve Jobs and Aristotle both recognized what Gary Landrum is getting at. Our creative juices will flow more readily if the mechanical, boring part of our brain is preoccupied.
So at your next meeting, get up, grab your coworker and go outside for a quick walking meeting. If the blockbuster idea doesn’t come to you while you’re walking, at least you are staying active.
In addition to taking a walk, I’ve also found productive distractions within reach. I fill my office with things that take me different places. For example, my CHILDCRAFT Encyclopedias are nothing short of inspirational. The smell and feel bring a rush of childhood memories: making crafts and reading stories with my Mom. Read one excerpt from “Make and Do” or “Poems and Rhymes” and I am off on a new line of thought.
Here in the Netherlands, we find that standing desks have done wonders for the staff. Our memory has improved and the energy in the office is higher! We’ll have to try out walking meetings next.