Pekka Pohjakallio, specialist in innovation and business management, ponders the change in work and creative workplace in his blog.
I frequently give presentations on the change in work and always show two photographs. One shows a sunny park, the other the most boring meeting room in the world.
I ask the audience in which of these two spaces are ideas born. Everyone answers: “In the park.”
“And where do you have your meetings to come up with ideas?” “In the meeting room,” they answer.
We are stuck with our ways of doing things. Creating things are a thing for creative companies. Meetings are always arranged in meeting rooms. One must not sleep at work. Serious things need serious people.
Could we rethink the workplace?
We conducted a survey covering over one thousand Finns. We wanted to find out how creativity is experienced in businesses. To our pleasure, we found out that creativity was an everyday thing for many. We had feared that creativity would have been outsourced to experts.
However, there were problems. The respondents told us that they had lots of ideas at work. Yet less than 50% knew what happens to ideas and whether there is even interest in implementing them.
The implementation of ideas has been made too difficult.
Could creativity be more simple? If it is a matter of immediately trying new things.
We visited a meat processing plant and asked the meat cutters if there is an innovation process in their company.
“Of course,” the meat cutters said. “Every Tuesday before the beginning of the shift we have a 15-minute meeting where everyone can propose improvements to work. If someone has an idea, we adopt it immediately in practice. On Thursday, we see if the idea works.”
Experimenting is always a success. It gives us information on what works and what does not.
A culture of experimentation requires a sense of safety and trust. Trust is born out of openness and wanting what is good for everyone.
Facilities can help if there are lots of places for encounters. Information flows and openness grows.
Creativity also calls for well-being. That our brains work. There is space to concentrate in. And another where you can just take a nap without feeling guilty. And a place to eat in.
A creative space does not require bean bags and slides. It requires things that are natural to the organisation, that provide openness, safety and well-being.
To me, they are an open-plan office, Pilates roll and sofa.
Enjoy your work!
Pekka Pohjakallio is a specialist in innovation, marketing and business management and the co-author of Työkirja (Book of Work) with Saku Tuominen. He was also responsible for the Älykäs työ (Smart Work) project of the Idealist Group and World Design Capital Helsinki.