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Creativity in crisis

Being creative and impactful when we have to

As a parent of two young boys (aged 4.5 and 1.5 years old), this lockdown period has been a challenging but special time. They are full of energy and can’t really comprehend what is taking place around us, and in many ways don’t really mind. They get to have both their parents’ home all day which they love! We love it too, but it is a tad hard at times trying to work remotely when they are also wanting your attention and time, and when we have to attend to their normal routine and needs regardless of what we are busy with. I am sure that many working parents have experienced their own version of the now famous BBC NEWS Live interview, where their children have happily joined into virtual team meetings!

What it has meant, is that we have had to be very deliberate and creative with having clear ideas for activities that we can do with them and keep them entertained with. Like many parents we have Googled fun activities and have turned our homes into school play areas with all the related paraphernalia strewn around.

What has stood out for me though, is just how creative we have managed to be with them, with very little. No fancy toys, or expensive games…just cardboard boxes, paint, puzzles, exercise time, hide and seek, ball games, books and our imaginations. Drawing with chalk on the driveway has been the most fun and yet something we had never done until now.

The lesson it has taught me is just how creative and impactful we can be when we have to, and how little it takes to do this. By stripping things down, and being intentional about finding new ways to do something, we have been far more productive and engaged with our children, who in turn have had great fun and learnt a lot.

Businesses are being forced to look inwards, and do more with less

I have seen the same in the workspace. Businesses, schools, churches and gyms have all shifted quickly into finding innovative ways to keep connected with their people, internally and externally. Many have embraced a level of technology and remote working that they have never utilised before, and again become very creative with very little. In some cases, I am sure that many will retain some of these exciting new elements, even when business finally returns to ‘normal’.

This need for innovation is also being driven by the fact that all businesses face a very bleak financial outlook at the moment, and this is forcing teams to look inwards, and do more with less. They are having to cut back wherever possible, and while the situation is scary, a great level of innovation and grit is being seen across the board. When we are forced to scrutinise every cost, every strategy and every project, we realise just how much we can achieve when we focus all our efforts and resources into essential elements.

While it is true that this is not necessarily a sustainable model, and we all face a very uncertain future at this stage, a lesson we can learn through this ordeal is the resilience, creativity, and innovation we can all demonstrate when we need to. The opportunity we have is to ensure that we remember this and not wait for another crisis to practice the new skills we have learnt.

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