In a world where we’re racing around from morning ‘til night, working every minute and attempting to squeeze as much as we can out of a day, we simply can’t just ‘be more productive’. In all honesty, it’s a lazy, catch-all phrase which feels wildly out of step with the reality of modern work culture. We need to shift the conversation away from productivity and towards reimagining the human experience at work.
At Dropbox, we recognise that the use of technology is a big contributor to this. Instead of making our lives easier, it can add complexity, distraction and cognitive overload. From social media distraction to the deluge of email and ironically, all the apps we’ve downloaded to help manage our time better. These days we are juggling dozens of apps, tools and devices. They scatter our attention and keep us chasing our tails. It’s easier to search the entirety of human knowledge on the internet than it is to figure out what’s going on in some workplaces.
Getting back to meaningful work and unleashing your creative energy is what it’s all about. Removing the distractions that prevent you from producing your best work and giving you the power to let your creativity flow. We knew what it meant to us, but what did it all mean to you? We asked some customers for their feedback and commentary on what ‘creative energy’ in the workplace means to them:
A creative agency that helps companies visualise information and concepts. They take complex ideas and construct simple and impactful ways to visually communicate them. Dan Porter, Creative Director, says: “Creativity relies on an ability to combine existing ideas and observations in new and exciting ways. So, creative energy is a tireless impulse to absorb and discover things in the world around you, across every field and discipline and using them as ingredients for brand new solutions.”
A science-fiction feature film production specialist, Hasraf ‘Haz’ Dulull, Producer / Director tells us: “It’s often hard to put that feeling of creativity into words, as it’s best expressed in the art form itself. For me, creative energy is about having the right inspiration and the drive to break down boundaries to creatively achieve what I know is possible.”
A network of cinemas in city centres that are architecturally unique venues, providing café bars, restaurants and live events alongside the traditional movie-going experience. Jon Barrenechea, Deputy Director of Marketing for the company says: “Creative energy needs to be cultivated – which is really hard, meaning it’s much easier to squash it in a work environment. So, creating creative spaces in our work is key – particularly during business hours. Having the head-space and not fearing failure are key components. Failure should be seen as part of the process as opposed to a defeat.”
A flavoured sparkling water company creating a product with no sweeteners or artificial colouring. Hugh Thomas, Co-CEO and Co-Founder tells us: “To me, creative energy is the daily drive to put something out into the world that wasn’t there before. I’m a huge believer in the power of imagination, and you need creative energy to bring this to reality. Ugly started as an idea between two mates, and now we’ve sold over 2,000,000 cans, putting our dream into reality. That’s #theuglytruth!”
A grass-roots, non-commercial campaign highlighting small business successes and encouraging consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. Michelle Ovens, Director at Small Business Saturday says: “Creative energy? Well, I guess that is what we do all the time! Our way of approaching things is to have an idea, which can come from anywhere, and we just go for it. We work out how to do it and give it 100%. We like to say we leave a Small Business Saturday shaped hole in the wall. If it works out, great. If not, then we move in. Fast failing, but also some incredible energy around activities.”
The DPP brings together colleagues from all parts of the content supply chain to gather insights, shape and deliver industry trend. Mark Harrison, Managing Director of the partnership old us: “Creative energy is flow. When I am in a strong creative moment, everything moves very quickly: ideas tumble over each other and I have a clear sense of creative purpose. Thinking quickly also means working quickly. There is therefore a strong link between work tools that are intuitive/responsive and creative energy. Tools that are complex can stop the creative process dead; ones that are highly responsive can feed the energy.”
Creative energy, it seems, is an enigmatic and somewhat elusive concept to pinpoint. That’s because it can mean different things to different people. However, there is one constant that runs through: the idea of getting back to doing meaningful work.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute Study, we spend 61% of our time managing work and just 39% of our time actually doing it. It’s time to re-address this balance
If you have your own take on creative energy or want to share some inspiring stories about how you changed the balance in your working life, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.