Creative Inspiration in the Workplace

Pablo Picasso famously is credited with the line, “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” This could be interpreted to mean that understanding technique and constraints within the craft is vitally important. But layered over those constraints is boundless freedom and imagination.


Have you ever had a problem at work that you just can’t solve, despite your years of experience and lists of past successes? Maybe it’s a bit of code that isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Or a client you can’t effectively communicate with. Your go-to solutions aren’t getting you through this time and you’ve got to get creative.


Breaking out of habitual ways of thinking and getting creative is often easier said than done, but taking inspiration from art and the artist behind a work can help.


A piece of art is a physical manifestation of an idea. It offers a different view of reality that can cause a perspective shift and help you look at your problem from a different way. It also can call forth all sorts of inspiring emotions — curiosity, awe, even disgust. Viewing a piece of art also might cause the viewer to explore their own reactions or question the artist’s motives or technique. It takes the mind on a journey to another place, time or reality — like a mini vacation for your brain.


Losing yourself in the exploration of an art piece can sometimes feel like a waking dream. And dreaming often helps people find the solution to a stubborn problem. It’s a common experience to fall asleep with a problem and wake up with a solution. Some scientists speculate that the reason a dreaming brain can come up with solutions a waking brain can’t is because a sleeping brain doesn’t have 20 other tasks to complete while wrestling with an issue.


Losing yourself in a piece of art can do something similar. It gives your brain a rest and lets it focus on just one thing while it wrestles with your problem in the background. And although you might not come out of your break with an entire solution, maybe you’ll have a seed that will blossom into a riot of boundless energy and creative freedom. Problem solved!