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Dr Maggi Evans Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Consultant and Coach, Mosaic Consulting


Alongside the many challenges that we are facing as a result of the pandemic, we are hearing of some amazing innovations and collaborations, as people join together with a common aim.

We have seen examples of F1 competitors sharing their expertise so they can design and manufacture medical ventilators in record time. We have seen businesses openly sharing details of their medical designs so that others can replicate. We have seen tech firms building apps in record time to support information sharing.

Around the world there are offers of free psychological support to health workers, the World Economic Forum has identified a range of social innovations that are providing support, and hundreds of thousands of people are volunteering to assist in any way they can.

Governments too are having to step in and find innovative solutions to the health and economic needs of the world, through reaching out to retired professionals, guaranteeing financial support for those whose work is disrupted and finding ways to accelerate the development and scalability of virus testing.

A crisis is often a powerful catalyst for change, creativity and innovation


It has long been known that a crisis, or sense of urgency is a powerful catalyst for change and creativity. As well as the above examples of innovation to directly address the current situation, many organisations are also having to innovate to survive and to continue to serve their customers.

Restaurants have switched to offer home deliveries, lessons and lectures are taking place online, businesses are accelerating their adoption of digital channels, use of video conferencing is exploding as more people work from home, new supply chains are being rapidly developed. We’ve probably all been impacted by at least one of these and the predictions are that many of these innovations will impact us for many years to come.

How to harness your creativity at work – seven questions to ask yourself


So, how can you harness this in your work? How can you unpack what’s going on and find new and innovative solutions that will benefit your work or your career, both now and in the future?

In a previous blog, we introduced some practical ways to be more innovative and creative in your work. Innovations rarely arrive as fully formed ‘eureka moments’. So, if you want change, you need to give yourself some space and some thinking time, and be willing to play around with ideas.

Here are seven questions to help you to step back, to reflect, to understand the ‘problem’ in different ways and to start to uncover some new solutions.

1. What are the most significant changes that I am faced with right now? (e.g. change in market, restrictions on normal ways of working such as face-to-face transactions/meetings, lack of supply of raw materials). If you are in sales, the demand for your products may have evaporated, and if you normally work face-to-face, you will no longer be able to do this – these are significant challenges that you need to address. Whatever the change, it’s important to take a step back and understand the unique challenges that you’re currently facing. This is the first step to finding creative solutions to tackle them.

2. How do these changes make me question my long-standing assumptions about what creates success? (e.g. I may have always assumed that I need to deliver my services in a particular way, or that I will always be able to get the raw materials I need, or an organisation may assume that everyone needs to be in the same office in order to work well together, or I may assume that my job is secure). In order to develop creative solutions, you will need to challenge these long-standing assumptions and decide if they are helpful or not in the current crisis. So, taking our sales example, you will need to firstly consider product demand. Your assumptions may always have been that you sell a specific product, to a specific market, for a specific purpose. How could you challenge this assumption to view your product demand differently? What similar product is there a current demand for? How could you re-purpose, re-position or adapt your product to meet a different genuine need?

3. What might the long-term implications be? (e.g. what are three or four different scenarios or ‘story lines’ to consider, such as ‘short blip’, or ‘local supply’ or ‘digital only’). One scenario might be ‘virtual gains’, with everyone becoming much more confident about remote working and using virtual meetings. In which case, this has implications for how people work going forward – will they all continue to be office-based and co-located or is there an opportunity to reduce the cost of office space and have home-working as standard? As you think about these scenarios it is important to challenge your long-standing assumptions about your job or your business. These may no longer be relevant in today’s world, and it’s possible they may never be relevant again, so it’s time to start challenging them and thinking creatively to establish new ways of working.

4. What does success look like for me/my work going forward? (e.g. financial security, sense of purpose, survival). This is about being clear on your goals – what are you really motivated to do right now? Have your motivations changed as a result of the current crisis? Is the crisis causing you to question what success means for you personally? For example, you might be keen to use this crisis to fast forward technological change and new ways of working, you might be content with still having a job and a company at the end of the crisis, or from a career point of view, you might have time to invest in developing new skills or increasing your employability. Thinking back to the sales example, you might want to set a goal of growing the business despite the crisis.

5. What are the options I have for achieving these goals in each scenario that I’ve considered above? (this is likely to involve you challenging previously held assumptions). This is where you can think about all the possible ways you could achieve the goals you’ve identified above – think big, think broad, ask yourself what options other people would see. So, returning to our sales example, you might identify a new product/market opportunity, or on a personal level you might identify this as an opportunity to develop new skills in digital marketing.

6. What else could I do? (it may take you a while to develop a wide range of options, the best ideas may not be the ones you come up with first). It’s worth asking yourself ‘and what else…?’ a few times. At this stage you don’t need to worry too much if it’s realistic or not – that comes next).

7. What are the pros and cons of each option and how could I check them out and decide on a course of action? (g. level of risk, level of skill needed, potential benefits). This will help you to evaluate the options and identify the most plausible, the ones you’d like to check out a bit more. So, if it’s a new collaboration technology or a new product, you would test out how well it would work, conduct further research or put together a costed proposal).

You can work through these questions on your own, and they can also be a great agenda for a team meeting. Have a go, see how you can find some creative and innovative solutions.


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Maggi is an experienced consultant and coach with international experience across a wide range of sectors including professional services, financial services, retail and FMCG.  She is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and combines research and practice to develop practical solutions to drive business improvement.

Maggi has been a consultant for over 20 years, specialising in talent strategy and talent development.  She has a reputation as an insightful consultant, helping clients to reduce the ‘noise’ around an issue so they can focus and act on key issues which will make a difference.  Maggi is on a mission to help organisations, leaders and individuals to liberate talent.  Her first book ‘From Talent Management to Talent Liberation’ has recently been published.



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