How creative is your environment?

One noticeable characteristic of the design and development teams I’ve worked with over the years was their creativity. They spent lots of productive time creating games, matching themes to content, brainstorming interactions and developing suspenseful scenarios.

Yet among some learner groups, online learning has a reputation for being boring and dull. Where’s the disconnect?

Some design/development teams aren’t encouraged to be creative in the workplace. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they don’t have the budget or time to explore new ideas. Some clients and SMEs get nervous at the thought of doing anything novel; they won’t approve of a creative treatment because of organizational policies or fear of how it will be perceived. Other times a team may lack creative insight simply because they are inexperienced.

Creativity is often stifled in our educational system, as you’ll find in this humorous presentation by Sir Ken Robinson. See the video below.

How we can make the workplace more conducive to creativity, even in tough economic times? Try a few ideas from this list:

  • Train a few staff members in the art of facilitating brainstorming sessions
  • Hold productive brainstorming meetings
  • Encourage people from different disciplines to converse and share (break down the silos)
  • Implement a social media technology that facilitates informal learning
  • Use internal crowd-sourcing through social media to gather ideas
  • Value learning from disciplines outside of one’s expertise
  • Provide ways for staff to decompress and play
  • Promote visual thinking and problem-solving
  • Place less emphasis on organizational hierarchies so employees feel free to innovate and take risks
  • Provide opportunities for employees to see what’s going on outside of their universe: bring in speakers, participate in webinars, attend conferences (particularly ones in different fields)
  • Withhold judging new ideas before they are thought through
  • Get in touch with the magic and let it shine through

Speaking of the importance of play to enhance creativity, see this video of Tim Brown, from the design firm IDEO.

Online learning is at an exciting moment of convergence. This is the time for exploration, imagination, open minds and creativity.
How can creativity can be enhanced at your workplace? As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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  1. Robert says

    This is great. I have contracted with quite a few companies, which will remain nameless, **cough cough government cough**, that just refuse to allow any measure of creativity. Dull, & bland does not equal interactive learning. This is great!


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