An idea can come from anywhere at any time.
Creativity is not something that can be forced, at least not productively. We spend so much time trying to find creative inspiration when little pieces of inspiration come from everything we do.
Recently, I participated in a staff meeting where many of my fellow teammates attended a weekend leadership conference called “Level UP Impact Conference” Dovico was a title sponsor of the event and Dovico CEO, and Culture Coach Yves Doucet was a speaker at it. While I didn’t attend the uplifting conference, I was amazed at how many different takeaways there were from the staff who did attend the same event at the same time with all the same speakers. How can that be?
Creativity and Curiosity
It didn’t take long for my observations during this meeting to incubate my creativity and curiosity. How could I write a blog post about how a group of people can attend the same event and yet all come away with a completely different experience? How can I put that to work in a different context and relate it to creativity?
I know! Lego!
I assembled five bags of Lego, each containing the same amount of pieces (65), and each included identical pieces. There were wheels, basic blocks, a steering wheel, a mini-figure and even a Lego coffee cup. The key would be to have volunteers work from the same piles with no differences -not even colour.
One by one, volunteer staff members at Dovico grabbed a bag and came up with their creations with one simple instruction: build something -anything- with all of the pieces.
I was amazed by the results.
We had a music stage, a forklift, a mechanic working on a hoisted car and a mystery truck named “Betsy.” All created from the same set of bricks. I tried my best to ensure that nobody worked together as I wanted unhindered and individualistic creativity to flow into their creations.
When I got the creations sent back to me, I received terrific stories in detail about how their invention worked and what it was all about. Even though many of the volunteers hadn’t touched a Lego in years (if ever), they had great pride in what they created.
But what was this experiment about?
Each Lego brick signified an event in our life, and even if we all experience similar circumstances, we would still build an entirely different life. It is our emotional reaction to those events that drive our individuality and in turn, inspire our creativity. We cannot cultivate creativity with conformity. Growing creativity is only possible when people are encouraged to use their different realities to build anything they chose.
This exercise also encouraged other healthy office side-effects!
Creativity in the workplace
Creativity in the workplace is not only a key to innovation, but it is also a major stress buster! When I placed bags of Lego on the desks of my teammates, I could see the child-like excitement in their faces. Thankfully, the office environment at Dovico is quite peaceful with not a lot of stress, but it is not entirely immune to it. This fun exercise loosened up some of the volunteers in the office to think a little more freely on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon.
With open creativity, there are problem-solving benefits as well. I had heard of two teammates using the Lego sitting on their desk as a muse to solve a budgeting issue during their meeting together. They worked together on creating a base for their Lego creation! Perhaps a tray of Lego sitting on everyone’s desk may be in order?
Everyone has different reactions to very similar experiences in life. And encouraging innovation with the freedom of putting all those bits of reality together is key to making time at work meaningful and productive. More time spent emersed in new experiences as a team will produce even more reaction and inspiration. And with those reactions comes a different perspective on creativity and productivity.
Challenge yourself, and your teammates to experience more in life and watch the pieces of creativity connect into something beautiful.
The Results in Pictures
Here are the Lego creations by Dovico’s creative elite using all the same lego pieces!
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Also published on Medium.