It may be time to mess things up.
If you’re looking to boost your creativity, it may be time to forgo neat and clean, to dispense with the notion that a tidy desk always equates to higher productivity.
In a series of experiments, University of Minnesota marketing professor Kathleen Vohs and colleagues found that individuals experience a creative boost when working in a messy environment (what Vohs calls “visual disorder”). The takeaway, of course, is that when it comes to productivity – at work, at home, in school – messy has its place, alongside neat and clean. In Vohs’ research paper: “The Psychology of Messiness: How Disorder Can Make You More Creative,” her abstract emphasizes that: “. . . different environments suit different outcomes.”
So aside from “visual disorder,” what other elements promote creativity?
Drink Wine, Create a Mind Map, Keep Moving
These are three of a series of ideas shared by The Young Entrepreneurs Council, which reached out to its members to suggest ways to boost creativity.
1. Drink Wine – Urged Erika London, founder of iAdventure.com: “Allow your employees to unleash their ideas outside the confining walls of an office over a glass or two of wine. You’ll be surprised how quickly the combination of a relaxed environment, and some vino will transform a casual hang out into an innovative meeting . . . .”
2. Create a Mind Map – Explained Nathalie Lussier, foundation of Nathalie Lussier Media: “Start with a topic or question, and mindmap your way around it. Don’t censor yourself as you come up with all the surrounding topics and bubbles that go with your initial topics. This type of ‘hyperlinked’ thinking is what allows us to come up with new ideas. You can also go really deep on a thread, which can help spur creativity in other threads of your mindmap. Mindmap as a group, and this takes on a whole new life!”
3. Keep Moving – Shared Erica Dhawan, co-founder of Galahads: “To think creatively, keep moving. . . . Simply taking a walk while talking about important things makes the conversation more meaningful, so why do we sit in conference rooms instead of walking and talking? To think creatively. . . . What do I do? Bollywood dance breaks! Seriously — I have Bollywood-inspired Innovative Moves workshops.”
Thetinylife.com offered 10 tips of its own, we share three here:
1. “Extend your social circle. . . . We often find ourselves in the company of very similar people with overlapping viewpoints on things . . . But I have found some of the most growth occurs when two groups of people come together. . . . The other viewpoint can also tease out weaknesses that need to be addressed.”
2. “Take a shower. I thought I was the odd one when I said my best thinking happens in the shower. I don’t know what it is about taking a shower, but it brings a clarity and peace that can be hard to find in the modern world. Well it turns out that I am not as weird as I thought, because a study has been done about the power of showers to spur creative thinking.”
3. Get tactile – try a white board, in place of a computer screen. “I am standing, writing fast [in a] stream of consciousness. When I am mulling something over, I am pacing, tossing a ball, doing something other than sitting still. I think the big space of the white board and hand writing are key. Often after a session like this, I will copy the board into a mind map on my computer.”