Source | LinkedIn : By Fiona Jury
All progressive, forward-thinking companies have adopted virtual or flexible working in some shape or form. However, in a world where company survival depends on constant innovation and re-invention, leaders have questioned whether virtual working fosters the creative thinking needed for better innovation and business outcomes.
How Can We Collaborate and Innovate When So Many Colleagues are Working Virtually?
We know that the best innovation outcomes occur in groups where people can challenge, tease out and build on each other’s thinking. The collective energy of a group of humans also produces inspiration and excitement that doesn’t happen when we work solo.
However, virtual working can complement the face-to-face creative process. Let me explain how.
Before we step into a group or collaborative situation, it’s better if we’ve done lots of reflection and exploratory thinking beforehand. By doing so we’ve taken our research and ideas as far as we can by ourselves. We’re knowledgeable, primed and in a much better position to discuss the issues at hand than if we went in cold.
Virtual working fosters creativity in the following ways:
- It provides reflective thinking space – Virtual working enables a greater focus and less interruptions.
- You can get into a state of “flow” more easily – “Flow” being the state where people are at their most productive when they are completely absorbed by an activity. Arguably this is from where our best work stems. It ignites our intrinsic motivation and we’re inclined to exert more discretionary effort.1.
- Bed, Bath, Bus Creativity – Eureka moments often happen when we’re in a different place or situation. Our sub-conscious mind, the powerhouse of our creativity, takes these opportunities to whisper ideas to us. Bed, Bath, Bus is a metaphor for this. Often it’s during sleep or a day dream (Bed), in a relaxed physical state like in the bath, during a massage or exercise (Bath) or when we’re in a different location (Bus). Virtual working can unlock this creativity when we choose surroundings that inspire a state of flow.
Personal note: Lately, when I’ve been pondering a problem or creative challenge, new ideas have been popping into my head during meditation. Meditation seems to quieten the monkey mind (conscious mind) and allow the creative mind (sub-conscious) to have its voice.