How to Be Creative in Any Environment

Are you the creative type working in a not-so-creative environment? It can be difficult to be at work every single day having to tame the creative beast inside of you.

I can remember a certain point in my career when creativity and innovation were appreciated, encouraged, and rewarded. Then, some years after, there was a shift.

Survive the Shift

I personally felt that shift when during that point of my career I was working on many high-level projects that suddenly become unimportant when the shift happened. It was a challenging transition professionally, personally, and emotionally. It took some time, but I had to learn how to survive the shift. That is another blog post for another day.

We are who we are. Just because a new person comes into the office or we get a new manager, or we endure an organizational change, does not mean that our desires and characteristics change. We are still the same person, forced to adapt to the changing environment.

Ways to Be Creative

There a few ways that you can stay true to who you are; the creative type, even when creativity is not “in style”. By the way, in my personal opinion, it should always be a major player. I could go on a rant about how some of those “anti-creativity” people are using things in their everyday life, to improve their lives, all because someone somewhere had a creative and/or innovative idea. No matter who is in office, creativity and innovation definitely have thier place in government. We just need a few bold people to shout it from the rooftop.

In the meantime, these ideas should get you through…

  • Create Your Own Project: develop a newsletter, re-organize the office space, etc.
  • Volunteer for Non-Work Related Activities: help with baby showers, holiday decorating, etc.
  • Get to Know the Communications Staff: information in the form of banners, flyers, sites, etc. still needs to be shared; maybe you can assist the graphics artists on a project or two.
  • Take an Interest in Training: I have developed training plans as one of my special projects and when you are the training coordinator, you can get creative with delivery, learning examples, etc.

Remember This

The things you do at your place of work cannot be taken away from you, whether or not the idea/project is adopted. You still did it; you still created that thing, or achieved that goal. It can still go on your resume. You still gained the experience, which you will hopefully grow from and expand upon in another area of your life.

Also, I have found out (annoyingly) that things go around in circles, especially in government. Some of the same projects that were not so important when the shift happened are now must-haves and things “we” need to do to engage our employees because ‘surprise, surprise’, morale is low. I digress. If this happens to you, and you still care (bless your heart), jump on the bandwagon and raise your hand.

Remind whoever is in charge of that project that you worked on a similar project (even if it is the same exact thing…be humble) and tell him or her that you have some great ideas. Hopefully, they will accept your proposal, you can get involved with that project, and go be the creative genius you were meant to be, right where you are.

Rita Lucas is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She is a writer and author who works with the federal government as a management analyst and project manager. As a writer, she helps small business and non-profit organizations promote their mission and brand; and as an author, she has published several titles that promote self-development. As a government employee, Rita has worked in the field of human resources for 11 years and has volunteered for leadership positions with veteran-focused and millennial-centric organizations. Rita holds a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in publishing. She is a new mom and resides in Maryland with her family. You can read her posts here.

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Avatar photo Blake Martin

Such a great piece, Rita! I love this notion that no environment or team should stifle creativity. If anything, putting oneself in the center of a new culture of creativity is great for all involved and is sure to pay dividends for your career trajectory. Not being afraid to take on something new is a sure sign of a leader within the office.