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4 tips on how to be creative at work!

Deepti Dilip J | Director – Marketing & Communications, Ashnik
Singapore, 12 Jan 2016

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Who says creativity is only for people from art or media backgrounds? We, the serious corporate-types need it a lot more ourselves. To break our monotonous work styles and fill our minds with some originality and freshness. In fact, the want of creativity from corporate employees is rising in this age of rapid technological advancement. Akin to what this global, multibillion dollar conglomerate and also everyone’s favourite search engine, Google, uniquely implemented as an organization. They set up something known as the 20 percent factor or program – where Google developers get to spend 20 percent of their working hours a day, on certain side projects that excites them at an individual level. I personally love this excellent attempt to give employees the time and space to think innovatively. While the need for creative thinking is not mainstream, it certainly uplifts the average mindset to produce better results. On a personal level, there are tinier ways of how I elevate my creative margins and pop out of a blocked mind. Sharing some of the tips with you here:

1. Jack of all, master of all

Being good at one thing is as dated as a floppy disk. Being able to laterally think and hold multi-functional knowledge is the new normal. And what does that exactly imply? Take up a hobby – Go tapping your feet at a dance class, learn painting, or join a cooking course. Let the mind breathe in fresh ideas. And it is these new ideas that will carry over to your career. Infusing a new leash of energy can bring about a change to your existing perspectives at work. I re-call how when I took up a French speaking course some years back, I read their cultures, heard the songs and enjoyed the introduction of a new lingo! And ended up finding a new me, just with that.

2. Deal with the monster called stress

At times, having a very serious mindset at work can hamper creativity. Having fun during work keeps one relaxed and that’s when the wonderful ideas tend to come. Needless to say, a stressful work environment doesn’t give one the vibe of doing things differently. Just like how, great ideas sometimes come to us whilst in the shower or other easygoing settings. Although it’s easier said than done, important to try and keep the mind decluttered from negative thoughts and unwanted stress. Remember the adage ‘this too shall pass’. Learn to dodge that rough moment by applying a brake. How I do it: Plug in my headphones and quickly catch a peppy number or look out of the window and stare into the sky for a few minutes, just momentarily breaks the serious tempo and revives my mood. Likewise, science says the color blue and green enhances creative functioning. See how you can incorporate these into your workspace.

3. Bond with diversity

Meet varied people from diverse backgrounds, befriend someone from outside your social circle, talk to someone you have never spoken to. Perhaps that heterogeneity will facilitate an exchange of different ideas. While at work, mingle and exchange talks with colleagues outside of your team – that would bring about a cross-association, dissimilar discussions and fresher results. Reminds me of an instance from my advertising days, when we were pitching for a pharma product whose target group was the lower income segment. Two ideas were presented to the client – the one that got picked was the campaign that was actually jokingly uttered by our office boy. We actually liked his idea and presented it to our client and boom! We went onto win that account. Shows that good ideas can come from just about anywhere and anyone. Because at any workplace, an all-agreeing group of people will leave little room for imagination and innovativeness.

4. Creativity is all about observation

Yes, it’s true. The more observant one is, the more they find solutions around them. Make the most of your travel time to office, morning walk or jog to look around and take notice. Sometimes a great solution or idea maybe in a random poster or by the street. You just have to be vigilant enough to see it. Even Steve Jobs seems to agree with this theory of creativity, he said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.” Interesting indeed! Creativity is not always about original ideas, it is really just about making new connections between existing ideas.

Let’s hope these tips can help in bringing out the creative side in you. Changing one thing at a time about your working style or environment will eventually lead to incorporating more of these into your day. Have fun while at it!


  • As the Marketing and Communications Director, Deepti oversees brand strategies, marketing initiatives and digital platforms at Ashnik for Southeast Asia and India. Drawing inspiration from her advertising experience, she brings to Ashnik her zest for creativity and design. She splits her time between a full-time gig at her job, lots of hobbies and dodging her 4-year old's odd tantrums.

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