Lean Times Unleash the Best in Us

Devon Meerholz, Chief Creative & Operations Officer of IMImobile SA questions whether plush agency environments really do bring out the best in us.
By: IMImobile SA
JOHANNESBURG - May 29, 2019 - PRLog -- A visitor to any advertising, marketing or PR agency where creativity is a bread and butter issue would think that unique cerebral output depends on comfort. One is as likely to encounter a designer couch as a desk within South Africa's award-winning agencies.

Littering these firms with beautiful and interesting objects designed to stimulate creative thought in the most comfortable way clearly works. However, is it worthwhile exploring the effect of what could be termed lean environments on human creativity?

This thought occurred to me after I was reminded that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional Sherlock Holmes character sharpens his impressive faculties through the less-is-more approach. Usually this translates into Sherlock starving himself. While no-one is suggesting we deprive agency staff of their flat whites and pastries, the phenomenal creative output of fellow human beings working under spartan conditions is all around us.

History tells us that challenges are indeed opportunities and that creativity flourishes in lean times. Already, the fruits of South Africans thinking out-the-box when it comes to conserving water are all around us. Human ingenuity in the forms of downpipes being fed into pools, bricks in cisterns, pressure-reducing devices and so on reduced water consumption in Cape Town, for example, to the point where the City was down R1.5 billion rand in revenue a year or so back - talk about an unforeseen consequence that's good for the environment!

Plush working environments advance creative thinking by removing certain little work-related frustrations like particularly-nasty instant coffee granules and flat-pack office chairs that collapse after a short ride around the office. However, the sudden emergence of a really pressing and severe challenge can spark some pretty amazing thinking. Humans seem to produce their best work when all is close to being lost. Terribly scary things like the plague, invasions and volcanic eruptions have all been overcome; some by chance, many by smart ideas thought up in the worst possible conditions. The lesson here is not to abandon decades of agency environment refinement, but rather to understand that real genius always comes from within.

Ivan Booth
Tags:Mobile Marketing
Location:Johannesburg - Gauteng - South Africa
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