A safe environment boosts creative confidence


Last Monday I gave a workshop about becoming more creative and innovative. Although there are multiple tools readily available to boost creative juices, it remained clear that the most important element is to get people into the right mind-set/mood.

For that to happen you need to create a safe have and following parts have proven to be extremely effective:

-       Location: The physical environment has a significant impact on our mood and our behavior. Therefore make sure that you select an inspiring environment, preferably away from the office.

-       Props: Dress-up the environment with playful and interesting elements (e.g. toys) and make it as colorful as possible. This unlocks playfulness and sparks curiosity that reinforce creative thinking and bravery. Also, allow people to wear cloths they feel comfortable in. You’ll notice that this puts people at ease and will boost their creative confidence.

-       Expectations: Set the stage at the beginning of the session by verbally communicating the behaviors you are expecting to see throughout the session. These include positive and constructive thinking, having fun, understanding each other and no judging throughout the day. Additionally, you need to ensure that the participants remain in the moment of creativity and therefore ask them to stay focused on the session (and not drifting away to work, emails, calls etc.). Serving 2 kings could lead to inferior results and also diminishes the momentum, attention span, energy and passion.

-       Care like a mom: Make sure you take care of your participants and make them feel comfortable with the unknown throughout the entire session. Indicate that it is normal and ok to be lost at certain stages or to feel uncomfortable. Creativity and innovation come along with ambiguity and it’s exactly for that reason that you need to reassure them. Repeat as often as needed that it is a safe environment and that there is no wrong doing in going weird or not being fully comfortable about how things are moving forward. There are different ways to get to ideas and although you don’t know the pathway upfront, reassure them that they’ll eventually get there. Have faith in the power of creativity & trust the force.

-       Energy: It is important to have the energy level high from the start and keep it up throughout the session. High energy helps to get to new ideas. It also inspires courage and playfulness that infuses more creative thinking. Therefore, make sure that you have energizers at hand for when the energy level drops (especially after lunch). This will keep the brain active and the momentum up.  

All this will enable people to get into the right mind-set & inspire confidence. It was an absolute delight to see the level of courage grow throughout the day and witness the participants pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone and coming up with great new ideas!


Now go and use your creative juices to boost your personal impact!

© Niels Chabot – Nutz & Creative.