What drives Creativity in the Workplace?


These days it seems every company is screaming about innovation. They say they need creativity. At the same time, employees are suffering from being stressed and over-worked. For some, 80 hour weeks are not uncommon. But do all these hours at the office lead to great ideas? According to research from Harvard University, the answer is NO! Harvard’s Theresa Amabile found that under high levels of time pressure you are 45 percent less likely to come up with that creative solution. But why is it, I asked myself, that the ones who conjure up ideas for a living like creatives in media agencies, come up with ideas under extreme high time pressure?

So, together with the KIT-Entechnon in Karlsruhe and the automobile cooperation Daimler AG, we set out to ask 155 engineers from the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center in Germany about where they do have their best ideas?

And yes, for the majority of people of whom Tobias Kind interviewed in his master thesis, Harvard’s findings are true. More than 60 percent of the respondents do have their best ideas outside of work, while running, chatting with friends or having a shower. The Job-Uninspired as so we call them, testified that due to stress and too many distractions they could not focus on being creative. So far, this all corresponds with the findings of Harvard Professor Theresa Amabile.

But hey, 37 percent did testify that they do have their best ideas at work.


Can this be true?

Yes, there are people who do have their best ideas at work!

Maybe it is because they have enough time to ponder?


“Time to ponder” is not amongst the Top 3 reasons for them to be creative in their workplace. In fact, the engineers put “Time to Ponder” in fifth place only. That means, time for the Job-Inspired isn’t as critical to creativity on the job as often seen.

That got us by surprise. We felt there is a revelation waiting here to be uncovered.

But if time is not really relevant for creativity at work, what is it then?


According to our ideation survey, 55% of the respondents pointed out that their #1 reason for finding great ideas at the workplace is that they love what they do!

The survey results show that for innovation to thrive leaders need to hire people who show a burning desire for their profession and, even more important to keep that fire burning! That means, instead of purely focusing on the user experience, leaders should as well focus on the employee experience. Because, as business magnate Richard Branson believes, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Having the survey results in mind and applying common sense, we developed a new innovation process called Dual Thinking. Dual Thinking integrates the passion of the developer, the needs and wants of users, and the possibilities of technology to find creative solutions.

To find out more about our new innovation process please feel free to shoot us an Email, Keyword: Dual Thinking

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