ImageI have for some time been reflecting on the importance of space in creativity. This has also been underlined by several recent experiences of working with groups creatively.

For example when facilitating creative problem solving workshops  it is very clear that when people are put into a physical environment which does not allow them space, such as a small room with  a table, or when that space is very practical and worklike, such as a boardroom, there is little creativity happening and people revert to being logical and rational.

Being seated at a table rather than say, standing  around a flip chart seems to diminish energy and the group looks to one person to lead. When all the group are in a more energised space everyone seems enabled to contribute.

So the physical environment is a very important element in enabling our creative juices to flow.

This has been identified by companies such as Google who design their workspace to inspire creativity, and has been identified by David Kelley, founder of IDEO who believes that there is strong relationship between physical space and creativity.

There are other types of space which influence creativity.

One of these could be labeled  Emotional/Psychological space. I have written before about the importance of positivity in creativity and if our emotional state is in negativity mode then we will not be receptive to new ideas and opportunities. James Brook, Director of Strengths Partnership writes about these two paths, which he calls the path of possibility versus the path of limitation  in his blog here.

Mind space or having a clear space for thinking/reflecting is also important. If my head is full of thoughts, cluttered with to do lists, concerns etc then there is no space for allowing my unconscious to develop ideas. They just get drowned out! Meditation can help create this space as can taking time out to an inspirational peaceful surrounding.

I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last year and have included one of the pictures I took there. This provided some peaceful moments and is added to my list of inspirational physical spaces. Taking photographs in this physical environment also seems to work for me as I focus then on the environment and it loosens me from any previous stress.

How do you clear space for creativity to happen?