Curiosity and Creativity – Part One

We have been talking a lot in the last year about how we can create a culture of ‘curiosity and creativity’ in our organisation, as mentioned in this weekly message in June 2015 from our Chief Executive, Suzanne Rankin.

In the message,  Suzanne described the “Two Cs – Curiosity and Creativity”:
“Our culture needs to develop its curiosity, moving from a place of incremental change… to one where we have a whole cultural approach. By being curious – about everything – we can begin to surface areas for change, where we can apply our creativity.”

So in the next couple of weeks we will be talking about the ‘Two Cs’ and in this ‘part one’ blog we will just focus on the subject creativity.



When it comes to the practice of making improvements, being creative – developing new thinking, generating new ideas and being resourceful – is key; and this plays a large part in both identifying areas for improvement as well as changes or new ways of working that we can try.

So, if creativity is so important and can deliver many benefits to organisations like ours, we should probably tell everyone to ‘be-more-creative!’

Unfortunately, it is not that easy.  Creativity cannot be managed and I don’t think it is possible to be creative on-demand.  It can also be really hard to find the time to think creatively when we are in the midst of a busy winter period with all the associated pressures.

This article on creativity in business highlights examples of companies who have given their people time to work on projects they find interesting – “allowing them to pursue their passions, tapping into intrinsic motivation” in order to foster creativity and reap the benefits.

The article also suggests that creativity is “largely unmanageable” and that we “can’t schedule inspiration”.  So how can we create the right conditions for creativity?

Most people know from personal experience that the most creative ideas will come when we are outside of our usual environments or away from our normal places of work.  Maybe there is more we can do to not only create time to be creative, but create physical space for people too?

I was fortunate to spend a little time speaking with Suzanne Rankin on the subject of creativity this week and she reminded me of an example we saw at ASPH in December – the annual Decorate-a-Door event!

If you missed it, around 45 teams within the Trust gave their own time, energy and a huge amount of creativity to decorate the doors to their wards, departments and offices in a Christmas theme.  There are some pictures of the doors below and I hope you will agree there is no shortage of creativity.

It was a helpful example and the question Suzanne left me with following our chat was:

What more can we do to support our teams and individuals to be creative in making improvements in their day-to-day jobs?

What do you think?

We would welcome your thoughts and comments – and we would really appreciate your answers to this question.  Please post these in the comments section below and we look forward to continuing the conversation.


Mark – @MarkH_Work

Some of the creative output from the annual Decorate-a-Door event…

5 thoughts on “Curiosity and Creativity – Part One

  1. Emails 1. congestion – ask staff not to reply to everyone listed on an email unless necessary. 2. Ask staff not to send long emails but place such details in a document; emails are for short messages. 3. Ask staff not to send last minute urgent / important emails unless necessary. 4. Suggest staff only access emails at certain times to reduce ‘watching the inbox’ – hopefully reduce stress.
    Reducing stress might lead to more creativity; it is the little things that may have a big impact.

  2. We too easily get stuck in routine and tradition, often inheriting processes for predecessors – “that is the way we’ve always done it” mentality. Fresh eyes often see things differently. How about inviting a colleague from another department to come and shadow you for a morning/day with the intention of questioning your processes and routines. Don’t forget to think outside the box too! A new piece of software may be costly initially, but could still be value for money if it improves the service either directly, or indirectly by allowing you to make better use of your time/resources.

    1. Thanks Heidi-Ann. Really good comment.

      We talk a lot about how to challenge “that is the way we’ve always done it” thinking and those are some great suggestions.

      Hope others find this useful too.

  3. The NHS loves change for change sake without fully first determining if the change is needed or beneficial to our patients. I certainly feel it is important to find protected time to reflect on how things currently function and then establish if there is a need to change. By doing this you can get off the “hamster wheel” and allow your staff to be creative and engage in how their service runs and functions. An engaged and committed workforce is paramount if you are going to establish any positive, successful and lasting change

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