When we were kids, we found joy in creativity.
Most of us now find fear in it. There was a time when we painted pictures of our families, built new worlds with LEGOs (more on this later), talked with funny accents in made up languages and built forts with couch cushions and bed sheets. Somehow, by the time we are exiting middle school, our creative spark is all but out already. When most adults are asked to draw a picture, create some artwork, sing, or even play for that matter, we freeze in fear.
Our education from junior high through college does little to fan the dying creative spark into a creative firework. Instead, the standardized expectations of the system blow out the last wisps of ignition.
I too was a young child who loved LEGOs and all the creative exploits that most young children enjoy. I too began to lose the spark the older I grew. When I was in high school and considering what I should study in College, I didn’t even realize that some people made a career of Graphic Design. I didn’t know that the job title “Creative Director” existed.
But today, it looks like the tide is beginning to change, especially in corporate America. Today, companies all over the world are looking for ways to foster the creative spark of their employees. Today, smart business leaders recognize that creativity and innovation that comes from engaged and talented employees is about the only competitive advantage anyone can hope to have.
Companies in every industry, not just tech and social media, are realizing that they need creative employees in every field not just the traditional “creative” fields like design. As evidence of this, businesses are doing everything they can to make their work environments more playful.
In a recent blog post on the the art education website Artsy author Eli Hill showcases creative workspaces that would rival any child’s playroom. As an example, a firm called Evolution Design was hired by Google to design a space for their office in Zürich. The article from Artsy states:
Evolution Design’s solution to Google’s unique request required an equally individual approach. The designers began interviewing Google employees and found that many of them are, as Ruegg suggested, “kids––like big kids.” To better support Googlers’ playful nature, the firm decided to include recreational areas like a room for video games, an aquarium with napping pods, and space for athletics, as well as a range of unconventional workspaces.
If a company like Google (one of the most successful in the world) can make a meeting space look like Ewa, the sacred glowing tree from Avatar’s Pandora, just to encourage more playfulness and creativity from employees, maybe we should all be trying to figure out how to keep our creative spark’s glowing.