We’re always looking for different ways to stimulate curiosity in the work we do. Keeping a fresh and open mind to new ways of working has led us to create what we’re calling ‘Project 40’. It’s a simple idea that allows our whole team time to engage in activities or learning outside of their core roles.
This is where we encourage our team members to take 40 hours across the year to be curious and to nurture their creative minds. Curiosity is one of our values and Project 40 is an extension of the idea that we want people to continue their own personal growth and learning. It’s about extending the opportunity to enhance our team’s knowledge and inspires them to keep that curiosity going.
Give me some space
The creative brain needs space and the creative process is not necessarily linear. Project 40 is one of many things we do to create space in the work week to nurture curiosity .
We also encourage simple things, like a walk around the block or an office plank challenge to get the blood pumping and help clear the mind.
In the current “too busy” environment when everything is needed yesterday, we encourage thinking things through, mulling over ideas and letting them marinate. The best ideas can often strike when the mind is relaxed and you’re doing something unrelated.
We have found that Project 40 also helps build trust in our team. Giving people the opportunity to go and be curious, knowing that the business will support them is an expression of trust. Some companies are doing four-day-weeks, work-your-own-hours, etc. As we’ve learnt through and post COVID, we have to be able to trust our staff to work independently and be able to contribute, in any environment. Project 40 moves those sort of ideas into practical solutions for our team.
To make this work in practice, we structure our working environment so that everyone knows what’s expected of them, the team priorities and our project deadlines. We set the expectations for our workflow and how Project 40 works around those expectations.
We’re only a small team so there is a cost to the business in terms of actual time in the office. But the benefits of the freedom and the encouragement to go and do some thinking, to do some learning far outweighs the time impact. In fact, we’ve had a productivity boost.
Supporting creativity means that you’re going to have better outcomes in your business. Whether you’re an accountant, in construction or whatever it might be, you want your teams to come up with new and interesting solutions and business ideas. Most problems in business involve problem solving. When you’re able to access more creativity, then your solutions are going to be more interesting and valuable to the business. So next time you’re stuck on a problem, take a moment – walk outside, pull out a note pad and start doodling, or turn on some tunes. Give you mind a moment to relax and you might just find creative inspiration strikes.