28 MAR 15 | creating creativity

“Creativity is not like the weather, you can do something about it.” — John Kao

brain 600

Way back in 2003 when I was elbow deep in graduate school at the University of Montana, I wrote a thesis about the places creativity happens. My thesis abstract read: “Certain places stimulate us by flooding our senses with new sensations. When new sensations collide with what is on our mind, we make thousands of new connections and we see hundreds of new possibilities. This is how ideas are generated; the essence of creativity.”

Based on the findings of my studies, I  designed a physical space to highlight the effective elements of creative places. The illustration below is the “creativity pod” I designed. A place to get away to where my mind regular routine could be disrupted and new connections could be made.

milue drawing

During my research I came across several influential studies that addressed creativity. Dr. Edward de Bono claims that the creative process is an “interruption in the smooth flow of routine in order to pay deliberate attention at some point.” He goes on to say that “all important breakthroughs contradict some established knowledge. If creativity is ‘in with the new’ it demands ‘out with the old.’ Creative thinkers challenge what we know; they hammer away at the wall of knowledge. Progression can occur by providing a safe, risk free place for destruction of the old paradigm.”

WORKSHOP8 is a place that stimulates creativity and I am excited that I have landed at an office where we implement the ideas I researched 13 years ago. Our entire team weighs in on design challenges. All ideas are thrown onto the table—even the wacky ones. Those ideas are often the catalyst for ideas that are eventually implemented. The wacky ideas interrupt the routine, and make us pay deliberate attention to the problem at hand and come to a unique and creative solution. I find it motivating and inspiring to be surrounded by so many committed people who work hard, support one another, and work together to create a collaborative and creative community constantly hammering away at the wall of knowledge.

hammer wall600

Another interesting study by Steelcase found that 80% of creative ideas happen in informal spaces including: driving in a car, showering, jogging and listening to music. When riding my bike, I find myself in a space conducive to producing creative ideas. I think we all have our own “special” place or places that we create and utilize to draw out our most creative ideas. What is yours?


So if you call to get a hold of me, and on the rare chance I happen to be out of the office, rest assured I am likely riding my bike with a few colleagues thinking about creative solutions to your project.

Marcel on bike