Is COVID making us more creative?

Creativity in the time of COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced so much anxiety and fear-based news, could anything good be coming out of this situation? The isolation, confinement and restrictions feel a bit like miniature prison terms–reducing our ability to embrace outside experiences and social stimulation. And the fear is creating an understandable desire to hold tightly to the way we’ve been doing business–or life, for that matter. 

However, since social distancing began, I’ve been witnessing some of the most creative responses from folks all over the world involving every aspect of life, from the brilliant musical send-up created by a British family of four, to amazing ways that families are using their backyards to create mini ski-slopes, to creative problem solving by high school students responding to the N95 mask shortage, folks in every situation imaginable are reimagining their lives in such creative ways.

Some businesses have tapped their creativity to respond to shifts in their industries. Restaurants are pivoting to grocery sales and creative delivery options, Printing companies are pivoting to fulfillment centers. Telemedicine is taking leaps in providing virtual care. It’s spectacular!

And truth is, creativity is often sparked by the limits we place around our situations, not the freedoms.  A Harvard Business Review article written by three authors who conducted a meta-analysis of 145 studies on constraints, revealed that constraints actually encourage more creative thinking and solutions, not fewer. As they state:

“According to the studies we reviewed, when there are no constraints on the creative process, complacency sets in, and people follow what psychologists call the path-of-least-resistance – they go for the most intuitive idea that comes to mind rather than investing in the development of better ideas. Constraints, in contrast, provide focus and a creative challenge that motivates people to search for and connect information from different sources to generate novel ideas for new products, services, or business processes.”

Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing so much innovation during this time of constrained movement, and goodness knows we need this level of thinking around almost everything in our current situation–especially in the development of testing, treatment, and vaccines. 

In terms of your business, we encourage you to harness the power of innovation and creativity that current constraints have created to stay in the game with your customers and prospects and deliver them surprising and fresh value. You may just emerge from this pandemic ready to offer new products and services or deliver your present products and services in new and innovative ways. 

Get creative with your communications and don’t let off the gas (remember, gas is cheap right now!). Be inspired to think of creative ways to engage and provide value through communications, especially online using Zoom, webinars, video and other rich media to reach out and connect. 

Remind yourself, and your team, that our bodies may be confined, but our creativity can’t be contained! We can’t wait to see what you create as we weather this pandemic together.

Author Shawn Solloway

For 20+ years, Shawn has been working in the marketing trenches to help clients reach business goals, grow market share and build strong brands that stand out. Shawn is a Principal at Thoma Thoma. Before that, he was the founder and owner of EXIT Marketing, a social branding firm, for 12 years.

More posts by Shawn Solloway

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