All Articles Leadership Management How a creative work environment encourages more risk -- and more rewards

How a creative work environment encourages more risk — and more rewards

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SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, a global design consultancy.

A large part of successfully getting your employees to take risks and innovate depends on their office environment. Think back to kindergarten classrooms — they’re open, playful and encouraging environments because children need to “take risks all the time in order to learn,” said IDEO CEO Tim Brown.

Companies that are known for creativity and innovation, such as Google and Pixar, often are also noted for their unique workplaces: Google boasts flamingos in the courtyard, while Pixar has rooms that are based on its movies. While not every office is suitable to having a bird in the middle of the room, in general, “a workplace that encourages creativity is a workplace that encourages people to feel comfortable about taking risks,” Brown said.

What are some small steps that companies can take to foster a more creative environment? Brown’s suggestions:

  • Open up the space so people are more accessible. Employees who can see one another might be more inclined to share ideas.
  • A new paint color might freshen up the office and take away the “dreary and corporate” feel.
  • Design the space so it’s more encouraging of activities such as brainstorming.

Having a more open work space doesn’t automatically mean your employees will start to take more risks, Brown said. It’s the first step to a corporate mindset that helps to change the way people feel about their work. Open spaces, more collaboration between teams and a playful environment can build the foundation to a work culture that fosters creativity.

“It’s about coming into work every day and not feeling like it’s work,” Brown said. “It’s about coming in and feeling energized and not part of some kind of dreary bureaucracy.”

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