A creative workspace for a creative headspace (Part 1)

Written By: Noma Date: 06.07.2018 Categories: Design

The question of whether the style of a workspace can influence creativity and problem solving has been a long-standing one. While some people believe that the two don’t have any direct correlation, others believe that without an aesthetically pleasing space, creativity suffers.

Now, both stand points are valid, mostly because no two creatives are the same- so to answer the question at hand… Yes and no. Here are my thoughts.

It’s the kind of influence that counts

When we think of a creative workspace, a lot of the time, our minds rush to the idea of a super colourful and vibrant space that screams “FUN!” almost too loudly. Not a bad idea if your employees are highly energetic children who don’t actually have any work to do besides having the time of their lives- but that’s not the case here. When dealing with (grown-up) people who need to effectively solve problems using their creative expertise, they need a clear space to do two things- 

  1. Identify and define the problem at hand, which usually requires a significant amount of collaboration and;
  2. Work strategically to come to a solution that meets a specific brief, a process that’s generally better achieved in isolation.

And so, an open space with “privacy pockets” that encourages creatives to work in both states of minds would be ideal. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Open space-ness breeds open-mindedness by allowing various team members to share ideas, pose questions and talk things through during the first phase of the creative process- identifying and defining the problem. This can be achieved through a generally open plan desk space that allows the team to see eye-to-eye (literally).

While privacy pockets that are separate from the general working area, like boardrooms, creative rooms and “quiet-zones” are important too, especially during the second phase where strategies are being applied, and people just need that little bit of alone time to work quietly. 

Of course, this isn’t to say that the creative process is linear- because it’s far from that. Often, we bounce back and forth between the two steps because, well, our first ideas are hardly ever the best ones. But freedom of movement and the option for mild-isolation can have a positive impact on the quality of work that a creative team is able to deliver and how efficiently. It’s also important to remember that physical space is only one element of a working environment, so in my next article in this series (yay, a series!), I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how sound and a touch of background noise can inspire a creative state of mind.