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Recipe for creativity

Gabi - May 18, 2021 - 0 comments

The recipe for creativity is composed of simple ingredients, but that does’t make it necessarily easy. It just requires practice and the right mindset.


  • Space ✨ Ideas need room to develop.
  • Time ⏰ Three types of time.
  • Trust 🤜🤛 In yourself, in the process and in others.
  • Play 🥳 Getting into the open modus.

Just like with all recipes, feel free to tweak it, experiment and add salt and pepper to tase. YUM!

1. Space

Creativity and ideas need room to develop. When I say space I refer to the physical room you are in so you can get the room you need in your mind. Away from daily distractions and to do lists. And telephones and laptops.

The type and mood of your space is dependant on your working style. It is really up to you to think what inspires you. In times of Covid-19, well, our space has been quite limited, so going outside of the box may literally mean your 4 walls and into the woods, doing meeting having long walks like Steve Jobs used to do. Or like animators at Pixar who design their own custom workspaces to reproduce whatever environment makes them comfortable. Working from home makes you the boss of your workspace so, feel free to feel free.

2. Time

They say tine is money, well yes you need that one too. But by time I mean three types of time:

  1. Time to work. Be specific about it and get it on the agenda, commit to it. Uninterrupted time creates the space you need. About 90 minutes for creative work will get you in the flow, longer than that will be too tiring and contra-productive.
  2. Take enough time in the ‘problem’ space before moving to the ‘idea’ space. We humans are often triggered by ideas, we believe in the Eureka moments of musing when that amazing idea comes to us. That is fine. But don’t rush it, take a step back, take it back to the problem space, and then generate more ideas. Designers and creatives have learned by experience to deal with the discomfort that comes with uncertainty. Taking the time leads to more creative solutions. Proven.
  3. Time as in timing. Knowing when the time is right to test your ideas for feedback, too soon can leave people confused, too late and all you have done is waste that precious time.

3. Trust

If you ask me, trust is the key ingredient of creativity. You might get away with no space and little time, but if you lack trust you are nowhere. Fear of making a mistake is the biggest killer of creativity.

Trust in my opinion is also divided in 3:

  1. Trust in yourself. Everyone is creative. Everyone. Point. Just think of the tine you were a kid. Thank me later for that one.
  2. Trust in your team. This one is specially for managers of creative teams. Give them the trust they need because that will create space. Be there for them but let them do their thing.

Trust is needed when conflicts arise, and they will. Conflict without trust will kill the spirit. Conflict with trust is the healthiest thing and even needed to come up with the right solutions.

But if trust is so needed, how can we generate trust? Trust is earned, by fighting battles with fellow colleagues who share the same commitment to getting there. As time passes you win some and loose some, but you bond in a way that allows collaboration further than within the office walls. It is rare to find, so if you have found it, take good care of it. Trust is fragile.

4. Play

Nothing will get you faster form the closed mode to the open mode than laughter, humor and play. This is what I like to call the ‘tikie takie’, and I even have an ex-colleague who I call like that. The one moment we are laughing so much that we have pain in our cheeks, and the next one we are discussing serious business. And then we get there, to the open modus, where the lines begin to draw connections, when we flow and we dare to think wild, to imagine. Play brings us to trust and we trust ourselves to play.

To the outsider, playfulness like this might seem like a waste of precious time. You might wonder how much billable time we wasted. And how we got away with goofing off. You may wonder if we got our work done or missed deadlines. You might think we didn’t take our jobs seriously. You would be wrong. Our work only benefited from the magical atmosphere of fearless creativity. Our work was smart, effective, and done on time.

Enjoy the recipe and let me know if it was tasty!

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