It’s funny how when we feel a certain way, you can see the effects of it reflected through in other aspects of our lives.
You could say it is pretty obvious that when we are feeling positive and energised we are capable of creating some of the best work we are capable of.
Just recently I’ve been through a minor operation which meant a short stay in hospital, something I’ve not done before. Although it was only a minor op, for me it lead to a period of anxiety about what was to come. Following the operation however, I got to speak to some of the other patients who were in for more serious reasons and I felt one of those ‘Damascus moments’ where everything is put firmly into context.
What I had gone through was nothing, there were far more serious things going on around me and when being told by a leukaemia patient that there’s always someone worse off than you, it really strengthened the point that sometimes we become too insular, too wrapped up in our own worlds and daily duties to see the wider picture. Life really is too short! I needed to take a step back.
Anyway, thinking about what we could all learn from this attitude to life and how it can be distilled to provide a way in which we can create, enjoy and excel at work, I figured it is all really about culture.
You only have to look at some of the larger companies like google and apple to see the importance they place on their companies culture in a world where that creative spark is needed more than ever to get an edge over the competitors, even just temporarily. Keeping it up would be impossible without something in the very fabric of the company to keep those creative juices flowing as I said before – when we are feeling positive and energised we are capable of creating some of the best work we are capable of.
My trip to the hospital and meeting with other patients who were a lot worse off than me was a moment which made me step back and take stock of it all – I think everyone needs to do this from time to time as creativity as well as sometimes being misunderstood, is a precious resource that can dry up simply by expecting it to be there when we need it. If you want it to grow, you’ve got to feed it.
It all comes out of culture – if our environment and the attitudes of those we connect with are not conducive to innovation and creativity, it will show in our work.
Work with people you like, do things that inspire you, make your voice heard and value what it is you are doing. A creative work culture may not mean the same to everyone as the needs and demands of people can be so different but being party to creating it is the responsibility of every individual. Whilst trying not to sound like a self-help book, I can’t over emphasize the importance in a design industry to keep the creative tools sharp – culture is that pencil sharpener.
Designers, take time out, take a step back and invest in your culture – it could be the most important thing you can do.