Creativity in business - Microsoft Industry Clouds

Creativity in business - Microsoft Industry Clouds (PDF)

2022 • 22 Pages • 2.93 MB • English
Posted July 01, 2022 • Submitted by Superman

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Summary of Creativity in business - Microsoft Industry Clouds

Creativity in business The essentials 01 1. Understanding the importance of creativity in business Page 2 2. How to inspire creativity in the workplace Page 4 3. Steelcase: the creative workspace Page 6 4. State of mind and creativity Page 8 5. What is creative thinking and why is it important? Page 10 6. How to encourage creative thinking at work Page 12 7. The advantages of creativity in business Page 14 8. How to facilitate creativity in business Page 16 9. Microsoft Surface: boosting creativity and innovation Page 18 10. 5 things you can do now to boost creativity in your business Page 20 Contents Understanding the importance of creativity in business 02 Chapter 1 The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 creativity will be in the top 3 most important skills 75% of businesses have not provided any formal training to encourage creativity / innovation 03 Chapter 1 * The original Industrial Revolution changed the face of work forever. The UK rapidly shifted from a nation where most people worked in unskilled, agricultural jobs, to an urban economy, where industry increasingly relied on mechanisation. We are currently undergoing an equally revolutionary change in the way we work, with technology advancing to the point where it is quickly taking the place of human workers. So much so that PwC predicts that by the early 2030s up to 30 percent of UK jobs are at risk of being taken over by robots and AI. This will undoubtedly mean another seismic shift in the skills required to operate in the modern workplace, with a much greater emphasis being placed on that uniquely human skill – creativity. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 creativity will be in the top three most important skills, with employers seeking creative minds to solve business problems and come up with ways to use technology to develop new products and services. The term creativity might traditionally be associated with artistic pursuits – drawing, painting and designing for example – but it is defined, according to the Oxford Dictionary, as the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Edward de Bono, one of the world’s most renowned thinkers on creativity, adds that creativity is about breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a new way. Research Microsoft conducted with YouGov backs up this more technical understanding of creativity, with 62 percent of British workers defining it as solving a problem in a new way. The ability to be inventive and think outside the box is crucial to success in any industry, yet UK businesses could be at risk of a creativity crisis, according to our research, unless they recognise its importance and act now to ensure workers are supported to develop their skills. Our research also found that, while almost three- quarters (73 percent) of those surveyed consider themselves creative, they feel their workplaces are stifling innovation, with both work environment and culture blamed for failing to nurture original thinking. Uninspiring and stressful workplaces, with a lack of inspirational spaces to focus and think, were cited as major inhibitors to creativity. Almost half of workers (40 percent) surveyed said that creativity was not a skill that was encouraged or rewarded. Three-quarters (75 percent) of those surveyed said that their employer hadn’t offered any formal training to encourage creativity. Stress, tiredness, and heavy workloads were also highlighted as major obstacles to creative thinking. Over the next few pages our partners at Steelcase reveal practical ways to help create workspaces that will inspire creativity; neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis explains how to tap into the human brain to promote agile, imaginative thinking; and we look at how technology can be better harnessed to boost creativity at work. By enabling employers to fan the spark of creativity amongst their workers, we can help the UK economy to survive and thrive even as technology makes revolutionary changes to how people work. Ryan Asdourian Windows and Surface Business Group Lead, Microsoft UK * How to inspire creativity in the workplace 04 Chapter 2 05 Chapter 2 Where we spend our working day has a huge impact on creativity. Microsoft’s research shows that uninspiring workplaces (41 percent), a stressful atmosphere (34 percent) and a lack of appropriate spaces to focus and think alone (28 percent) are all hampering creativity in offices around the UK. With creativity fast becoming an even more essential skill when it comes to giving businesses an edge, employers are looking to office design to create a working environment that fires workers’ imaginations. We have come a long way from the beige cubicles of the past, but our offices are still not doing enough to foster creativity and, according to Adobe’s State of Create Report 2016, only one in three people believes they are living up to their creative potential. Things are gradually changing as businesses realise that to attract, retain and inspire staff they have to provide a different kind of workspace. “We’re starting to see movement away from the traditional corporate office toward workplaces that are more like creative studios – a plurality of spaces, each designed to support people and the technologies that can make their work easier,” explains James Ludwig, Vice President, Global Design, Steelcase. Designing workspaces that encourage creativity is about far more than just giving people nicer places to work. The work environment can help to shape behaviour, reinforce culture and improve business results. When people are inspired by where they work, they are more engaged and creative. But there is some way to go before offices become crucibles of creativity as, according to the Steelcase Global Report 2017, only 13 percent of global workers are highly engaged and highly satisfied with their workplace. Businesses rely on creative thinking to help them solve complex problems, to generate new ideas and to evolve agile strategies that keep them one step ahead of the competition. But to foster this essential creativity, businesses must understand how environment impacts on behaviour to allow them to create spaces that inspire creative thinking. 2/5 employees see their uninspiring workplace as a barrier to creative thinking Only 13% of global workers are highly engaged & highly satisfied with their workplace Steelcase: the creative workspace 06 Chapter 3 07 Chapter 3 Steelcase and Microsoft are working together to find out how the workplace can more successfully drive creative performance. As part of the Creative Spaces project we are working to understand the way people work and how their environment and technology can help to develop workspaces that boost creativity and productivity. After all, the way we work has changed. Where once it was linear and process driven, now it has a different rhythm. Sometimes people need to be alone to focus and think clearly – almost half (42 percent) of those surveyed by Microsoft said they were most creative when they were on their own – while at other times they need to collaborate with other people. Sometimes this will be in large groups, at other times it will be in pairs or smaller groups. Our workplaces and the technology we use needs to reflect this new way of working, but there is still some way to go. In the same survey, employees cite a lack of space to think alone and a lack of space to work collaboratively with others as the third and fourth reasons that prevented them from being creative. Almost a quarter (23 percent) believe a work environment that offers a mix of diverse spaces that foster collaboration, socialisation or focused work would boost creativity. At Steelcase, we have created five Creative Spaces, a framework that combines thoughtfully designed office layouts and technology to support a more creative way of working. The Focus Studio and Respite Room allow for privacy to work on ideas and think, the Duo Studio recognises the value of team work and allows people to work in pairs, while the Maker Commons and Ideation Hub allow people to work together and with technology to try out new ideas. These different spaces can help businesses to come up with a new way of working that solves the workplace challenges facing us today while at the same time setting them up to capitalise on the benefits of increased creativity tomorrow. Serena Borghero Editor of Steelcase’s 360 Magazine and Director of EMEA Communications 8 Ways to inspire creativity in the workplace 1. Give employees choice and control over how and where they work, by providing quiet and collaborative spaces. 2. Provide a diverse range of settings for individual concentration or one-on- one connections. 3. Allow individuals and teams to express their personalities by allowing them to select environments that best suit their preferred work styles. 4. Encourage people to display personal items in workstations and on their computers. 5. Provide social spaces that encourage personal and professional connections and enable workers to connect socially. 6. Offer a variety of settings for both physical and virtual collaboration between teams across locations. 7. Create spaces for one-on-one or small group working to help foster personal connections and collaboration. 8. Provide a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that offer posture choices (sitting, standing, perching, lounging) and encourage walking to create physical and emotional energy, stimulate the mind, improve alertness and enhance focus. Almost 25% say they believed a work environment that offers a mix of diverse spaces that foster collaboration / socialisation / focused work would boost creativity * * State of mind and creativity 08 Chapter 4 1/2 of those surveyed said they are least creative when they are tired 09 Chapter 4 A creative workspace is just one part of encouraging creative thinking; nurturing the right state of mind is equally important. Our research revealed that half of workers (50 percent) said they were less creative when they were tired. Almost as many (45 percent) said stress had the same effect. These findings show that if employers want to nurture a creative state of mind, they need to develop a new approach to work, which focuses on helping to reduce stress and provides workers with the time and space to rest and rejuvenate. Getting out of the office is a good start. Taking exercise outdoors is thought to help reduce stress, so empowering employees to take a break and get a change of scene could help to improve their state of mind and fire up their creativity. This is backed up by our survey, as when we asked workers where they felt creative, the second and third most popular responses were out walking and being outdoors. Tiredness kills creativity, and half of those surveyed (50 percent) said they are least creative when they feel tired. Neuroscientist Dr. Jack Lewis, MD of the consultancy Neuroformed Ltd, says that napping at work is the solution to accessing our most creative brain states. The hypnogogic state – halfway between being asleep and wide awake – has been associated with innovative thinking for centuries and research consistently shows that sleep can inspire insights and ideas. He points to evidence indicating that being adequately rested is crucial to success at work in terms of promoting creativity. People who are allowed to sleep after they have done a cognitively challenging task were more successful at finding the ‘hidden rule’ that required an intellectual leap of inference than those who weren’t allowed to sleep through the night. He recommends that corporate cultures should adapt to accommodate ‘creative napping’, because catching a few minutes rest can really help to unlock our creative potential. In other words, our survey findings illustrate why being chained to your desk is no longer a sign of productivity; instead it is the enemy of creativity. The most creative brain state is when you’re halfway between being asleep & wide awake 45% of workers said they were less creative when they were stressed Asleep Awake What is creative thinking and why is it important? 10 Chapter 5 11 Chapter 5 Thinking creatively involves looking at problems from a different perspective, setting you free to come up with fresh and perhaps unorthodox solutions. This type of thinking is less and less the preserve of the artist. These days it is nothing less than a vital skill for modern businesses. Talented workers who are able to think outside- of-the-box are a critical asset to help businesses overcome challenges and find new opportunities. This is why nurturing workforce creativity is so essential – it genuinely can be the difference between success and failure. Promoting an environment that encourages original thought benefits from a better understanding of how brains work. Once we know the circumstances that facilitate a more open- minded approach and thinking style that naturally leans towards creative solutions, work culture and environment can be subtly tweaked to ensure that optimal conditions are offered for unleashing our latent creativity. Creativity is a process. It starts with broad research around the topic in question, followed by a period of time where this information is left to percolate in the brain. Periods of endeavour focused on finding new data to further develop your understanding of the problem should be followed by periods of relaxation that allow subconscious brain processes to get to work organising and making sense of it all. Both aspects are vital for innovative thought. Obstacles will inevitably be encountered before we reach a solution – often referred to as the mental impasse. If we keep plugging away, building our knowledge, returning to the problem at hand periodically, we will eventually get that sudden flash of insight allowing us to see the solution. Providing we have the time, space and appropriate tools to allow this process to unfold. One problem with the office environment is distraction. In an open plan office our brains are constantly picking up on the sights, sounds and conversations that are going on around us, diverting our attention from the task at hand. Distraction is a double-edged sword. A fantastic tool to use when we need a tactical distraction to help ourselves get round the mental impasse. But when distractions are regularly forced on us indiscriminately it can actually hamper creativity. The rhythm of when we allow ourselves to indulge in distraction versus maintaining our focus needs to be under our control. The first step towards creativity is to block out these diversions so we can have distraction-free bursts of concentration. This allows us to load up on the information relevant to the problem at hand. Afterwards we can return to a more distracting environment, while our brains process the information in the background allowing the solution(s) to come to us – often when we least expect it. It is no surprise that people say getting outdoors and being surrounded by nature helps them to be creative. Our hippocampus is the part of the brain that creates and retrieves memories, but it also involved in helping us to navigate, so our memories are essentially GPS-tagged. That’s why it’s hard to come up with original ideas in the same old places. Novel spaces, free of the clutter of previous memories, are a great asset for creative thinking. Some of our best ideas come to us unexpectedly – in the shower, on holiday, walking the dog, or on a run – when our mind is allowed to wander. When you look at traditional offices and work practices from the perspective of neuroscience, it is clear that they are not conducive to optimal creativity. Constant distractions from colleagues and technology, lack of time and space to think and rest, and a culture that expects you to sit in one place all day dampens our ability to be creative. To support creative thinking, workspaces and culture need to shift to work in partnership with brains, not against them. When you look at traditional offices & work practices from the perspective of neuroscience, it is clear that they are not conducive to optimal creativity Some of our best ideas come to us at unexpected places & times Dr. Jack Lewis Neuroscientist and Founder of Neuroformed * * How to encourage creative thinking at work 12 Chapter 6 13 Chapter 6 1. Manage distractions Create calm, private spaces where workers can focus and concentrate away from all distractions. Provide alternative spaces where they can seek out distractions when they need to take a short break. Open plan offices might be cost effective, but they are not conducive to creative breakthroughs. 2. Swap brainstorming for brainshaking To hone creative thinking critical analysis is essential. Not only does traditional brainstorming discourage criticism, but the social hierarchy of the office also stifles creativity as the ideas that get most air time tend to be those coming from more senior members of staff. Ideas from more junior or introverted colleagues could get less consideration. ‘Brainshaking’ avoids these problems. Everybody comes up with ideas ahead of time, submits them anonymously and a vote decides which ones are debated. Randomly- assigned teams then come up with arguments For and Against the idea. It is extremely important that among the team arguing For any given idea there are people who do not really believe in it and vice versa. This helps to take the ‘Outsider’ perspective. 3. Encourage creative napping Sleep encourages creativity. When you are tired you can’t think as efficiently and the brain state between sleep and wakefulness is when our minds are at their most creative. Offering employees the chance to take short (no more than 15-20 minute) naps will invariably help them to be more creative. 4. Get people out of the office Novel sensory stimuli – sights, sounds, smells, tastes – readily encountered in unusual environments, jog the brain out of well-trodden thought patterns, facilitating creative thinking. Encourage team members to get up and move around, ideally leaving the building to take a 10 minute stroll in a grassy area, every 90 minutes or so. 5. Down tech tools The time away from devices and tech is an important part of the process of creative thinking. It helps your brain to ‘step away from the coal face,’ to see the problem from a different perspective and pave the way for creative solutions to take shape. Take the opportunity to uncouple yourself from the email inbox and smartphone messaging services for a couple of hours each day to create the mental space required for true innovation. 32% say organisational processes hamper the ability to be creative Almost 1/3 of people say they can’t be creative because there is not an appropriate space to focus & think alone at work Dr. Jack Lewis Neuroscientist and Founder of Neuroformed Almost 1/4 of people believe the ability to work in locations other than the office would allow them to be more creative. The advantages of creativity in business 14 Chapter 7