HOW design conference
Working in a creative industry, like design, is no guarantee that your work environment is a creative one. Ruts and lulls affect us all and it's often a challenge to take the extra steps necessary to revive our creative juices and reinvigorate our passion for innovation. At this year's HOW Design Conference, Making Creativity Work provided participants with solutions and insights into how companies and individuals can inspire and collaborate to develop exciting products.

Project Platypus

Using Project Platypus as a guide, presenter Petrula Vrontikis, led attendees through the critical elements needed in cultivating an environment ideal for creative groups needs. Project Platypus is the innovative initiative at Mattel, Inc. in which a dozen employees with various skill sets and backgrounds and from all levels of experience were given the task of conceiving and developing a completely new brand. The selected individuals were treated to outside speakers and the freedom of time to explore and create. The result? A renewed sense of value and the development of new brands. Now Mattel facilitates these type of projects three times a year.

Pyramid of Creative Groups Needs

Creating a safe environment is key in planning workshops geared toward helping the creative process. Setting simple guidelines that eliminate interruptions and enable a space where all ideas are supported, encouraged and guided towards success. The Pyramid of Creative Groups Needs outlines our needs, physiological and emotional.

How we feel about our environment can affect our creativity. Do we feel motivated or scared? Safe? Do we work best in a structured environment or in one that allows us freedom to explore, collaborate and move freely? Are we seen? heard? validated? All of these conditions may trigger our creativity or limit it. Working our way up to the tip of the pyramid, self-esteem is essential to the process. Not surprisingly, since we want to feel valued and reassured that the work we do is not in vain.

Play at Work

Playing at work to develop ideas creatively is among the ways that companies are using, Mattel, Inc. included. Creating playful scenarios to help connect or innovate, as well as inviting outside speakers to offer different perspectives allow time for learning. Most importantly it's vital to continue to step outside the box and invest seriously in the initiatives used to spur creativity. In an effort to make creativity work, companies need to work making creativity. Figuring out what resonates with team members will help to inspire passion and ownership of their ideas. Although thinking outside the box is always encouraged, don't be afraid to learn from within the organization. Armed with a talented group of employees, the answer for re-invigoration will most likely come from the people around you.