In an interesting new study conducted by Land Rover, it turns out that comfortable seating, natural light and the absence of noise are the most crucial factors in encouraging creative thought.
The report, carried out by Land Rover with organizational psychologist Sir Cary Cooper and the Institute of Directors, questioned over 900 global CEOs, directors and high-level managers to assess the optimum environment for inspiring creative ideas.
It found that 84% of business leaders believe their environment is important for enabling creative thought. Beyond the top 3 physical factors, respondents listed fresh air (23%), a feeling of space (18%) and natural materials (wood, leather etc.) (5%) as being vital for a creative environment, whilst being in comfort (64%), having time to think (61%) and not feeling stressed (41%) were seen as the required psychological conditions for having the best ideas.
“The findings of this study suggest that cars present an opportunity for both the right psychological and the right physical conditions for creativity,” says Cooper. “Creative thoughts will often come to us at a time when we least expect them – when we are relaxed or not thinking about a problem. Experiments have shown that when dopamine is released into our brains from habitual or instinctive distractions, such as driving a car, we are more able to allow our brains to be creative.”
Land Rover’s study shows that catching up on emails is the second most popular business activity in the car (39%) followed by working on urgent tasks (34%). “Email overload is the biggest cause of productivity damage for the UK workforce,” says Cary. “Perhaps those Executives who are using their time in the car to work on emails might find benefits using the time and environment for reflection and thought instead.”
This flexibility to work from almost any location continues to increase in line with developments in technology, with connectivity being a key driver. The 3G connectivity of the InControl system seen in Range Rover is just one example of this in action.
For Cary Cooper, the key learning of the study is that, wherever Executives choose to do their work, for them to truly flourish it is vital that their surroundings are conducive to creative thought.