Creativity and innovation are best buddies in business, but is our perception of creativity really accurate? A survey published in the June 2017 print issue of Mindful gives a small glimpse of creativity as it truly is--how close are the results to what you thought?

 

Survey highlights

 

  • 64 percent of respondents have dreamed of being an artist.

 

Today, much of contemporary work centers around technology and data. The statistic thus is notable because it suggests that people would appreciate more license for expressive freedom in their statistics-, logic-driven environment. Employers who find a way to provide this freedom to workers without leaving data/tech needs behind--for example, in infographic design--might improve employee satisfaction and related metrics such as retention.

 

  • Writing is the most popular creative outlet of choice.

 

This one makes a ton of sense given (again) the modern focus on technology. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and blogs simultaneously allow us to express and share concepts and establish ourselves as experts. Mobile devices also allow us to write anytime, anywhere, whereas many other forms of expression are not as portable. Since we get so much practice with writing for work, and since it's so accessible, it likely feels natural to pick writing to express ourselves even off the clock. This might be especially true given that it's a quiet, relaxing task we can do by ourselves, balancing the frantic pace of the day.

 

  • 61 percent of respondents say their creativity thrives in peace.

 

Everyone's tolerance for stimulation is different, but this statistic demonstrates there's merit in the idea of more traditional, closed office floor plans, as well as for the idea of ensuring employees have breaks during the day where they're free to work independently.

 

  • 74 percent of respondents say they are more creative by themselves.

 

We all need to be team players. But groups can hinder creativity in that we become afraid of what others will think--we hold back our ideas and don't take risks because we fear the ostracization and isolation that might come from submitting a "bad" concept. Letting employees explore and brainstorm in solitude--at least some of the time--thus might generate more or better innovations than if you always force them to partner up.

 

  • 31 percent of respondents have the majority of their epiphanies in bed.

 

The survey found that eureka moments can happen in a variety of places, even while using the toilet (1 percent). For instance, 3 percent said the lightbulb goes on in the hallway, 11 percent in the backyard or couch, 16 percent in the shower and 22 percent in places such as the bath, during exercising or while meditating. All of these areas are spaces that are familiar or private, or which feel relaxing and safe. The bed might have won out, however, because it has the strongest association with rest and calm, which supports creative thinking. Some people also might get good ideas in bed because it's a place that allows people to mentally disconnect and press "stop" on the normal dialogue of the day. And some people might find inspiration in the moments after awakening from dreams.

 

A basis for the start of new approaches

 

Mindful's survey results strongly suggest that people thrive creatively in moments of solitude, and that they benefit from quiet, peaceful environments. The results also suggest that companies might get more from their employees if they strike a better balance between creativity and facts/logic. The processes and expectations associated with everyday business operations also can be positive, conditioning us for the use of specific creative channels. There's still a lot to learn, but this data is a good start.