September 04, 2019
As I approach 3 months with Valtech, I’ve paused for thought on creativity. Here’s 5 ideas that bring together some of my long-standing ways of working with some of the new things I’ve learned here at Valtech.
Start simple by telling people that creativity is welcome and encouraged. Make sure processes encourage people to explore new ideas rather than stick with the status quo. And encourage diversity in teams to surface varied ideas.
Create the right working environment
Work in the open, using boards and screens to share plans and ideas. Have meeting rooms with big whiteboards to support creative brainstorming. And have open spaces to talk more informally. Valtech’s auditorium is a great place to share ideas with a larger group, and anyone else in the office who’s interested is welcome to join in.
Use technology effectively
There’s no right or wrong answer on the specific technologies to use, but make sure there are effective tools to support collaboration and sharing of ideas. It could one or more of Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello or Miro. While there’s no substitute for face to face, we cannot all be in the same place at the same time; make the most of video to help bring people together on conference calls. And don’t overlook the basics of simple efficiency, using concurrent editing in (for example) Office 365 means less time merging documents together and more time for creative thinking.
Do something different at lunchtime
As well as being good for general wellbeing, having a break makes for better thinking and productivity in the afternoon. When I used to have a pool near the office, I found a swim a great way to refresh at lunchtime. With Valtech’s London office based in Angel, my current favourite is to jump on the tube one stop up to St Pancras and play one of the public pianos.
Spend time with people you don't usually work with
Events help bring people together and encourage sharing of ideas that might not otherwise happen. This might start with Christmas and summer parties. Valtech’s summer party, just 4 weeks after I started, was a great way to meet lots of new people from the Manchester and Bristol offices. Lunchtime or evening events focused on particular themes are a great way of getting people together, as well as helping our customers share ideas and learning. And events can be a good opportunity to add social value. For example, Valtech’s Manchester office hosted a Homeless Hack event bringing together several organisations, applying the approaches we take to digital service development to how we could help the homeless.