Think Outside The Box - That's The Box You Call The Office

November 21, 2017 / By Gary Berney

It’s no coincidence that you have your best ideas or find a solution to a problem while you’re out walking or running in the countryside or by the sea. No end of research advises you to get out from behind your desk and change your environment to find true inspiration.

But once you’ve gone back into the office and shared your great ideas with your team, don’t expect them to be able to give feedback straight away or work on the new idea instantly. For the best in collaborative ideas you need your team to be able to get outside the office environment themselves, so that they have time to digest the idea, think critically about it to find potential improvements and then to share their feedback to get the best outcome from the process.

Research from Kings Business School and Amsterdam University found that to spark true creativity, employees must work under adaptable performance standards and have time to digest fresh suggestions. This often doesn’t happen as business pressures curtail the use of thinking time.

Professors Roy Sijbom & Frederik Anseel, who carried out the research, said “People need to get out of the office and seek feedback from the likes of friends, family, customers and suppliers on their ideas, but that alone is not enough. They need time to consider and reflect,”

“It’s not just for entrepreneurs, but for anyone who wants to be innovative. The same way that entrepreneurs must engage with their potential customer base as quickly as possible to test their ideas, mature companies must call on the innovative potential of all their employees. By getting out of their environments, and without time pressures, feedback can be fully utilised.” The new research carried out across the consultancy and healthcare sectors indicates that many companies are missing out on the best of solutions by not allowing time for employees to get out of their normal working environment and digest the new idea.

I’ve always been impressed how employees at the coal face of the business, can find solutions to what seem like intractable problems to management. The trick really is to get them out of their normal environment, allow them time to go for a walk, chat through ideas or issues and then come back to management with suggestions. You not only get the best solutions but you’ve also got the buy in from your team by working in a creative and collaborative way.

So next time you’ve a great idea or a problem, share it with your team and then give them the change of environment to allow them to digest the idea and perhaps come back with ideas that will enhance it.

The trick is getting your team outside into the countryside or by the sea for the best in collaborative solutions and the enhancement of a team culture.

Gary Berney