I often refer to PR as an ‘Eat Your Greens’ service. It's a business mindset…
“You can’t use up creativity – the more you use, the more you have” Maya Angelou.
Creativity helps us access and exercise different sides of the brain, and it’s something I’ve been making a resolute effort to enjoy more. Working in an industry providing creative solutions for clients, it can sometimes feel a little monotonous and uninspiring. Sometimes it feels like a constant continuous grind of churning out proposals and documents, so a welcomed break can re-energise you as well as provide you with a different perspective to consider.
I have recently enjoyed taking art classes as great way to relax, to try something new and practice creativity more regularly. Interestingly it’s been somewhat of a revelation how creativity can be applied in the context of business.
The classes available from Sketchout have been a great source of enjoyment and interestingly, familiar stories were shared within the group of how attendees lacked of confidence when it came to art.
Art is highly objective to the person viewing it. What one person might appreciate – a picture, a particular artist’s style – someone else might loath! As children we’ve all enjoyed colouring in, painting, drawing and even building through Lego or Play-doh. Then as we get older our creations are under scrutiny and one person or teacher’s opinion will grade our efforts and in some cases can knock our confidence and diminish a care free approach to creativity that makes it hard to continue.
Having now wanted to experience the joy of simply trying again, playing without judgement or wishing to improve, the class’ efforts were so impressive which makes you wonder why on earth did some people stop?!
The common theme here is the fear of vulnerability. The willingness to be vulnerable is required in order to try new things as well as be open to learning from others to break through self-imposed beliefs which have created blocks and affected our confidence.
Therefore at a networking event recently I was delighted to meet Perienne Christiane, an artist and creativity expert who has launched her new courses to encourage creativity in business. Her Art Thinking Lab delivers workshops to businesses and charities using principles and creative practices from fine art to group creativity, to enable collaboration and team work, non-verbal communication and whole brain thinking.
Having experienced how art classes have taught me to focus and become more mindful to reduce stress and enabled my creative side to flow more freely – I was intrigued and of course jumped at the chance to experience this first hand.
Joining a small group of eight, the first task was life art drawing but with the difference of very short allotted time slots. The more time you spend thinking of the task in hand, the more time you procrastinate and perhaps allow time for self-doubt to set in. Instead, and perhaps because of how recently my last art course took place, combined with my late arrival (thanks Southern trains!) I couldn’t waste any time but was able to get straight in to the flow. Whilst my efforts were not as polished as I would have liked, the task of completing this within such a short amount of time removes the boundaries for perfection but instead a willingness to get involved therefore building up your confidence for the rest of the lesson.
Next up was learning how to communicate non-verbally through art. 80% of all communication is non-verbal, yet picking up certain sub-texts in a conversation is often missed as we often listen only to respond, rather than seeking to truly understand.
Luckily my partner for this task and I were quite similar in terms of personality and could understand each other for most parts of our artful ‘conversation’ but still had to make a concerted effort before we could respond to what the other person had expressed on the paper. It was interesting to see different dynamics within the group and how they worked together within the exercise, especially when mixing perhaps a more extroverted and introverted type together and seeing how they would have to work to understand and interact with one another.
The next exercise which was particularly fascinating was the discovery of each person’s creative archetypes and how the specific characteristics were exemplified through each person’s artistic style. Similar to defining personality traits it was interesting to see how the activity exemplified our own approaches and style but also highlighted how we collaborate and interact with each other – understanding dynamics within a team but also how they work together.
‘Fun is one of the most important and underrated ingredients in any successful venture’ Sir Richard Branson
This course was fascinating, fun and invoked a certain sense of freedom and fluidity to communicate with each other. It’s easy for the monotony of work to grind you down and if so it’s not unusual to feel that lack of creative spark, which is why more than ever it’s important to embrace your creative side once in a while and remember to play!
For more information visit Art Thinking Lab on www.artthinkinglab.com for more information on Creativity In Business.