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Radical Creativity in the Workplace

Radical Creativity in the Workplace

Tattoos, fancy dress and ball pools ΓÇô these businesses take fostering creativity in the workplace to a whole new level. Would you be brave enough to try any of these techniques?

Encourage hobbies at work

Imagine allowing your employees to use 15% of their working week to explore personal projects and hobbies. ItΓÇÖs an approach that might cause many productivity-focused managers to break out in a cold sweat, but for 3M, it has seen them rank repeatedly as one of the ten most innovative companies in the world.

ItΓÇÖs known as the 15% programme and itΓÇÖs open to all employees because 3M believes that anyone can be an inventor. Once a year, employees present the idea they have devised in their 15% time and ask for collaboration from other workers.

The approach has resulted in products including the post-it note, clear bandages and, most recently, Cubitron II, an innovative sandpaper which is defying would-be imitators. And of course, thatΓÇÖs before you consider the benefit of transferring this creative thinking to official work projects in the other 85% of their time.

Tattoo time, anyone?

No, you read it right the first time. Corporate presentations company Missing Link has a rather unique way to encourage creativity at its head office in Johannesburg, South Africa ΓÇô an in-house tattoo parlour.

Once a fortnight, tattoo artists are on hand to provide employees with some new ink ΓÇô all paid for by the company. As well as generating a real buzz around the office, it encourages employees to enter into the companyΓÇÖs lively, eccentric approach, which is about ΓÇ£loathing mediocrityΓÇ¥ and being ΓÇ£relentlessly creativeΓÇ¥.

Keeping it weird

A job interview at ethical soap manufacturer Method always ends with the same question: ΓÇ£How will you help keep Method weird?ΓÇ¥

ΓÇ£WeirdΓÇ¥ is an important part of the company ethos ΓÇô itΓÇÖs how founder Eric Ryan believes the company can stay ahead of the competition. Unlike many more conventional workplaces, itΓÇÖs not so much about regular, planned activity; instead, Ryan uses random one-off events ΓÇô it might mean blasting Eye of the Tiger in the lift, or hosting a fancy dress party.

These unexpected events donΓÇÖt just keep Method employees on their toes, they help to keep the workplace constantly fresh and new; the ideal environment for stimulating creative thinking.

Ball pool boardroom

Why host your weekly meeting in the boardroom? ThatΓÇÖs the philosophy at Chandelier Creative in New York, where the team gather in the ball pool to discuss their projects and plans. Yes, thatΓÇÖs ball pool, as in the sort you take your children to play in.

By removing the boardroom, employees are discouraged from corporate style thinking, and encouraged to challenge the norms of the business world.

But why choose a ball pool instead? If you asked the management team at Chandelier Creative, theyΓÇÖd probably say ΓÇ£Why not?ΓÇ¥ ThatΓÇÖs the kind of creative thinking theyΓÇÖre trying to promote.

Wonderfully inspired or just way too weird? Would you try any of these techniques in your workplace?

Image via acockle on Flickr

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Author: | March 19, 2013 | 1 Comment

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