featured case study

Harnessing creativity

24 October 2012

This year we have been asking ourselves what creativity means to us, and how we, as individuals, can be more creative and use this creativity for the benefit of clients and others.  Earlier in the year we took ourselves off on retreat in Wales.  Working with award-winning artist Heather Barnett, we explored how we might harness the team’s creative skills in the work we deliver and in our thinking. Team members took it in turns to lead workshops based around their skills (voice, dance, ceramics, writing and visualisation to name just a few). We asked ourselves, can creativity help us get more out of daily tasks such as meetings and reports? How do we ensure that clients never get just the ‘same-old same-old’? And how might our own workspace better reflect our creative nature? 

Reinvigorated, we returned to implement some simple but effective changes, such as the use of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats as a tool for discussion and planning.

We’ve learned that ‘action plans’ don’t always translate into action. Months of group discussion on improving our workspace had lead us nowhere. So, instead, Heather Barnett gave us photographs of neglected areas of the office and asked to nurture them as we wished: individual responsibility and free-reign to use our own creative impulses resulted in immediate change.

At Willis Newson we spend much of our time facilitating the creative work of others.  Although this is satisfying, it can sometimes be frustrating not to use our own creative skills. To counter this we decided to run two clay workshops to explore ideas of health and wellbeing with 30 six year-olds in a local school.

Some changes are subtle.  Others may be more major.  They are all still percolating through the organisation and will do for some time.