The changing face of business today shows a growing trend for creativity in business. There are many studies, research, and examples of global and well-known companies using creativity to grow successful business.

Google and NASA both embrace creativity in their business. You can easily find information online about the NASA Creativity & Innovation Commons – a collaborative work environment designed to spark innovative thinking.

Google is well-known for its ’20 percent time’ but even though that is no longer a workplace practise, they still focus on providing and encouraging a highly creative work environment. Google embraces tools such as collaboration internally and externally, stress-reducing work environments and effective recruitment strategies to bring in people that match the creative, innovative level and values of their existing team.

Their intentional stress-reducing work environments provide on-site laundry service, free access to a gym, nearly unlimited meals, coffee bars, employees design their own desks or offices, bike and car sharing programs and offices placed near public transportation, babysitting services etc.

People who feel they are in control of their stress and their time are more productive, creative and of course relaxed – a great state of being for any employer to aim for in their staff. 

A new creative path

Business, government and the economy are also on board with creativity. The concept of the Creative Economy was developed to highlight the move towards a creative based economy. It is based on the idea that knowledge is no longer the way of the future for business. Creativity is the way forward, and will be responsible for a directional change to business and to the world in general.

Creativity is being harnessed to solve worldwide problems. It is forming a recognised emerging industry of influence. It is also providing a source of income to many small business owners worldwide who are building businesses based on their creativity, and the rising need for people wanting more creativity in their lives. 

So why is creativity good for business?

We are all born creative. But it does sometimes get lost in the path to adulthood. A famous creativity study done in 1968 by George Land discovered that at age 5 we are using our creativity 98% of the time. At age 10 that percentage drops to 30% and by the time we reach the age of 15 it is down to just 12%. He then tested 280,000 adults and they scored only 2%.

Rules and regulations kill creativity. Yet creativity is a crucial skill for professionals in all fields.

NASA describes creativity on their website as ‘a process that evokes a unique combination of cognitive skills and behaviours for solving problems in new ways’ and ‘the ability to devise new combinations and relationships between seemingly disparate items’.

If you can harness the creative skills of your employees, you are encouraging a culture of problem-solving, innovation and ideas. You are empowering the uniqueness that lives within the fabric of your business – your staff.

You would find it hard to come up with a business or industry that would not benefit from this type of engagement in idea generation in some capacity.

Wired to Create

So how do companies support and encourage creativity in the workplace?

The authors of the book Wired to Create, Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire, looked at the 10 things highly creative people do differently, and came up with some interesting finding.

Here are their 10 attributes and habits:

  • Imaginative Play
  • Passion
  • Daydreaming
  • Solitude
  • Intuition
  • Openness to Experience
  • Mindfulness
  • Sensitivity
  • Turning Adversity into Advantage
  • Thinking Differently
  • Let’s apply these to business.


Bringing Creativity into your business

Based on the 10 different attributes and habits of highly creative people mentioned above, let’s break those down into something a workplace could use:

  1. Imaginative Play

Provide activities that allow staff to use their imagination, either as a warm-up exercise as part of brain-storming and strategy sessions, or simply as an option for downtime.


Drawing, puzzles, boardgames, tongue-twisters, dress-ups, off-site facilitated activities

  1. Passion

Understand what really lights up your staff and provide incentives to do them. This could be a work related passion within their job role, or an external passion.


You may have a staff member who is passionate about tennis. Create an incentive that if they reach gives them a 2 hour tennis coaching session.

You may have a staff member who loves social media. Provide them the opportunity to ‘take over’ the company Instagram account for a few hours.

  1. Daydreaming

Provide think time breakouts.

Example: This can either be done as a  group exercise, or for individuals to do themselves. As a group, you could provide ‘think time’ at 10.00 every Wednesday for 20 minutes. Everyone is tools down and doing the breakout together.

The important part of this is to allow people the space to let their mind drift off and dream about all that they wish they could create / make happen in their job / the wider company / industry.

Provide an avenue for people to submit ideas from this, if they choose to. The focus is on the process not the outcome, so do not expect ideas from every breakout session.

  1. Solitude

Encourage your staff to spend some time focusing on themselves.

Example: Providing work time for Personal Development and Self-Care days are perfect for this. If your business cannot afford to give whole days for this, consider creating incentives for hours off work for this if certain results are achieved.

  1. Intuition

Using intuition in business is a growing area of exploration. Intuition is a very personal skill and takes focus and mindset to achieve. You may need some external help to achieve this for your staff.

Example: Bring in a meditation expert and teach your staff how to listen to their inner voice. It may sound a little woo-woo but it can work wonders and it is bringing great benefits to many businesses. Find someone who specialises in meditation at work.

  1. Openness to Experience

Encourage your staff to be open to learning and to be curious.

Example: Organise job swap days, and encourage your staff to understand the roles of different stakeholders related to their job within the business (or even externally if relevant).

  1. Mindfulness

How do you encourage staff to be present and in the moment? By leading by example.

Example: Making time for your staff, and ensuring you are not dwelling on the past and worrying about the future in the presence of your staff leads people to themselves not dwelling on the past and worrying about the future.

Be present and in the moment when communicating with your staff. Implement a no mobile policy in staff meetings and 1-on-1’s. When possible, conduct meetings in a room away from desks or external to your office environment.

  1. Sensitivity

Some people feel like sensitivity is a curse. Embrace your sensitivity and that of your staff. Allow emotion to be allowed to flow freely when applicable.

Example: Encourage sharing of personal or work related events or situations that have affected your staff members, as a tool to understanding them. You should do this in a controlled environment eg a monthly Get to Know You gathering.

  1. Turning Adversity into Advantage

Leading your staff through challenging situations.

Example: Finding ways to turn negative or challenging situations into a positive learning experience for your staff.

  1. Thinking Differently

Ensure your business is always finding ways to challenge the status quo, ask why and how. Open up thinking and your staff will start to see different ways of doing things.

Example: Add question time to your staff meeting or staff 1-on-1’s. Have each staff member bring a question to the meeting for the group to consider/discuss that challenges the current way of ‘doing things around here’.

Creative Play

As children, we all lived and breathed creativity through play. It was our way of learning, experiencing, discovering, exploring and absorbing the many skills we had to develop.

If you bring just some of this level of creative play into your business, the benefits to culture, teamwork, happiness, fulfilment and innovation will be as obvious as the growth a child experiences in their early years.

Try creativity on for size – it’s good for business!