This is your brain (below left) after sitting quietly for 20 minutes. At right, you see your brain after 20 minutes of movement. Which brain scan do you believe exhibits the opportunity for more creativity? *
Brain scan from a 2009 University of Illinois study by Charles Hillman and Darla Castelli
Companies Clamoring for Creative Thinkers
Sitting at your desk working on your computer might not be the best activity for fostering creative thought. So how do you keep yourself in the flow when it is your job to sit at your desk eight or more hours each day? Movement and/or changing your activity is the answer.
Our culture admires creativity. We hold creative thinkers in high esteem. The Wall Street Journal publishes regular articles about encouraging creativity in the workplace. There must be something to this buzz about creativity and innovation.
Leaders are talking about creativity and innovation. Google’s creative playtime and play space is legendary. Companies try to imitate the creative environments of Clif Bar, Zappos and Starbucks. Yet, little creativity happens and leaders are left scratching their heads for reasons why.
Creativity is not about gimmicks. Innovation is not the result of forced playtime. True creativity occurs in a corporate culture that understands the messy nature of experimentation and exploration and allows it to happen anyway.
Movement and opportunities to bump into other employees for casual conversations are a step toward creativity in the workplace. The physical act of going to the water cooler may be more than fodder for a cartoonist pencil.
Carve Out a Daily Creative Practice
You can take control of your creativity by developing a few daily rituals, which promote ‘outside the box’ thinking. Begin by adding regular movement to your workday.
Here are some tips for adding movement:
* The brain scan above -from a 2009 University of Illinois study by Charles Hillman and Darla Castelli- compares the brain activity of 9-year-olds who took a brisk walk and those who didn’t take a walk. The walkers had far more activity in brain regions involved with focused attention and filtering out noisy distractions while they were taking a challenging test compared to the non-walkers.