Adam Katz, a designer and creative at Google Creative Lab for over 8 years, knows a lot about how to spark creativity. His life’s work centers around using creativity himself, and sparking it. with others to help come up with new ideas and improve upon existing ones. Adam Katz’s Google experience can help you learn how to stimulate your creativity while working from home.
Working from home has many benefits, and many people are likely to continue working from home post-pandemic. However, it can affect your team’s creativity and your own. Adam Katz, formerly with Google, understands that working from home increases productivity yet can decrease creative output. Adam Katz worked from home often at Google or with remote teams, to spark creativity he advises daily interactions and work sessions virtually to help simulate in-person work sessions.
Creativity comes from spontaneity and collaboration. Interactions with others and your environment play a big role. You’re chatting with a coworker and suddenly an idea comes to you. Write it down, start a collaborative deck or working file like Figma to share ideas together. You are driving to work and see a billboard, and it inspires you. When you work from home, these interactions cease, so try to take breaks and find new sources of inspiration like nature or reading.
Adam Katz’s career taught him many things about creativity, including how important quiet time and reflection are. Personal one-on-one Interactions at Google are valued, so he advises scheduling them regularly. Productivity is king, so make attainable deadlines and to do’s and check-in with each other. The creative stimulation that comes from being mindful and taking time for reflection is often overlooked. Sometimes what you need isn’t more noise, but quiet. At Google, Adam Katz scheduled daily 11 AM and 3 PM walking breaks to drop everything. He believes in still doing them from home. The freedom to look inside your own mind and see what you find without feeling pressured is highly beneficial to the creative process.
Changing scenery can also inspire creativity. For some, a walk through nature can unleash new ideas. Others may enjoy sitting at a coffee shop (local ordinances permitting) and people watching or simply changing rooms or spaces in their home. Parks can provide a way to be with nature and watch other people enjoy themselves from a respectable social distance. Changing scenery also breaks routine, which can help creative ideas to emerge.
Of course, collaboration will always be a part of a strong creativity strategy. Use work collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom to stay connected with colleagues. Don’t just use them for work tasks. Use them for casual interactions as well. An informal Zoom lunch can allow you to catch up and relax while reconnecting. Adam Katz states that maintaining connections with co-workers is essential to creative success. Adam Katz also believes in the new power of collaborative design tools. He uses Google Slides as a collaborative sketchbook, and Figma as a collaborative interface tool, and more are emerging all the time.
Understand what inspires and works for your own creative output. It’s important to know what drives your personal creativity. Working from home gives you more freedom to find and embrace your own methods, which Adam Katz Google learned from his time there. Maybe you get inspired by music. Maybe doodling gets you into the right headspace. Maybe exercise helps you center and focus. More than anything on this list, Adam Katz states that finding your thing is the best way to improve your creativity.