Structure: A Barrier to Creativity

Structure can be either good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Structure can provide individuals with a sense of order, or, can be seen as something restrictive. Karin Hibma, one of the co-founders of successful design firm CRONAN, believes that creativity can actually be created. In this article, Hibma talks about how important it is to get her clients out of their normal routine.

Hibma schedules meetings no earlier than 10 a.m., so that her clients have already checked their email and won’t be as attached to their phones. After having a brief introductory meeting, they will have lunch and play a little game of croquet. After I finished the article, I realized that structure can be a huge barrier to creativity.

Every day I wake up, I check my social media and email, go to school, check my email again, go to work, eat lunch, go home, do homework and repeat the process Monday-Friday. I have my routine and I rarely deviate from it. At work, I always expect big ideas to come out of large brainstorming sessions in dull conference rooms. When no big ideas come out of the meeting, I get frustrated and start to wonder what went wrong.  Like what Hibma does for her clients, I need to do for myself. I need to break free from all the “structure” in my life and start thinking more outside of the box.

In order to motivate myself to break down all structural creative barriers in my life, I decided to create a few goals.

They are:

1. “Invite a weirdo to lunch”—I got this idea from attending a keynote address with Polly LaBarre, one of Fast Company’s earliest editors. She mentioned that although you may not become great friends with them, you will at least walk away gaining some insight into a different perspective.

2. Study/Do Homework in a New Location Everyday—Instead of always doing my homework at my apartment and studying in a certain corner of the library, it is about time to change it up. Every day, or at least every other day, I want to challenge myself to visit and explore new places.

3. Create an Idea Journal—Although, I am more left brained than right brained, I still want to carry around with me an idea journal. Any time I get an idea, I’ll be sure to jot it down.

Don’t let structure get in the way of creativity. Instead, let it be a conduit from which inspiring ideas can flow.

What do you do to overcome barriers to creativity?  

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Ethan Parry is 

... a Service Designer + UX Researcher at Hanzo. Parry frequently leads workshops around the world on topics such as Google Design Sprints, UX research, and service design. Parry also teaches UX and service design in several universities and bootcamps in Barcelona.