The power of creativity – why it works

On the 22nd and 23rd of March the fourth edition of the Fronteer Winter School took place. The Winter School is an annual two-day masterclass that we host to celebrate and share our way of working – co-creation – with a group of ambitious young professionals. The newly attained knowledge is immediately put to the test by using the power of creativity to create inventive solutions for a pressing societal challenge. This year we focused on the challenge of air pollution in an urban environment.

The root of positive impact

As our purpose states we always strive for positive impact. This positive impact is apparent in the daily work for our clients. From developing a circular strategy for a construction equipment company to creating sustainable alternatives for FMCG firms. Similarly,  our Winter School outcome also aspires to make positive impact. However, a very important aspect of that positive impact that is sometimes overlooked, is the impact that our way of working has on people. On the people that work at Fronteer, the experts we involve in co-creation and of course our clients. The root of this positive impact? The power of creativity.

What is creativity

“Coming up with novel or original ideas; expressing oneself in an original and useful way; or spending time doing artistic activities.”

According to this study, engaging in creativity has an effect on our well-being. The researchers found that creativity not only makes us more energetic and outgoing during the act of creating, but that partaking in the act would increase our chances of using our creativity the following day. As if that was not enough goodness the researchers also concluded that next to immediate positive changes in our mood, creativity increases feelings of “flourishing”, which is a determinant of long term happiness and well-being. That’s why at Fronteer we do anything we can to get these creative juices flowing.

The more perspectives, the better

One of our key tools to get the creative juices flowing is to involve a multidisciplinary group of people for our co-creation sessions. It is our believe that the diverse set of perspectives and expertises that they bring to the table will enhance the creative abilities of the group. This belief is grounded in the essence of the creative process; to  connect associations between different pieces of information. By involving an interdisciplinary group of experts in co-creation, we connect even more remote pieces of information together in real-time, leading to radical new ideas.
Learn more about the 5 guiding principles for expert co-creation.

The role of the environment

In addition, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed in his groundbreaking work on creativity, that creativity has as much to do with the environment as with the persons involved. No matter how hard you try to stimulate individuals to be creative, without the right environment chances are you will get stuck somewhere. At Fronteer, the key influencers for creating the right environment are twofold. The first one is trust. This is embedded in the ‘Ways of Working’ that we share at the start of each co-creation session:

  • “Every opinion counts,”
  • “Be constructive and creative,” and:
  • “Have fun!”

The second influencer is in the details surrounding each session. These details are in the abundant light flooding our workspaces, the plants on the wall and the healthy snacks served at our sessions.
Find out what we believe are the four best places to co-create.

The point I want to stress is that at Fronteer, we love to leverage the power of creativity to solve complex challenges for a reason. As the 2018 Winter School showed, using creativity to approach a challenge not only delivers many new insights and ideas to clean the polluted air. It also brings smiles on the faces of the participants when they walk away afterwards.

Want to learn more about applying creativity to your challenge? Talk to us!