Is there a time of day when workers in your organisation are at their most innovative and creative?
That was the question economic agency Cornwall Enterprise set out to answer when the county became a magnet for inward migration from individuals and businesses working in fast-growth sectors like media, healthcare and environmental technology.
And the answer was to forget the mid-morning coffee break – 10.30am is the time when most people are at their most creative.
The most inspired people between 9am and 12 noon are those in the East of England, with 29 per cent enjoying their most creative moments then, followed by the South West (25 per cent) and the North West and West Midlands (jointly at 24 per cent).
But the survey also found there were regional and age differences to take into account.
Although 21 per cent of people are at their best between 9am and noon, if you’re based in Yorkshire and the Humber, 20 per cent are at their most innovative between 6am and 9am. Meanwhile, over in Northern Ireland, 18 per cent are at their most creative between 9pm and midnight.
In the 18-24 age bracket, the 9pm to 3am slot was best for a whopping 44 per cent, indicating their best ideas don’t come during work time. But for those aged 55 or over the 6am to 9am slot was best for 18 per cent.
The least creative part of the day was found to be between 3am and 6am with just three per cent of people feeling creative at this time, suggesting that most of us are unlikely to wake up in the middle of the night with a groundbreaking idea.
The survey also found out the biggest factors that help or hinder our ability to think creatively:
- Colleagues were found to be one of the most positive and negative influences with 43 per cent saying co-workers helped them be inspired, while 42 per cent reported that interruptions from colleagues, phone calls and meetings stifled their ability to be creative
- Workload pressures were also found to have a major effect on innovation with 47 per cent of people saying they were too busy to take the time to think creatively and 36 per cent saying that having more time would help them explore more creative ideas.
As a result of the findings, Cornwall Enterprise is urging UK workers to give themselves a 15-minute mid-morning ‘innovation window’, with no distractions from colleagues, telephone or email, to get their thinking caps on and come up with new ways to solve problems, work more effectively, or even come up with their own entrepreneurial ideas.
Carole Theobald, brand manager of Cornwall Enterprise, says: “It’s very easy to get caught up in a task-orientated, nine to five mentality but, as most successful people will tell you, it’s also important to give yourself a moment to sit back and look at the wider picture, which is when the ideas that really make a difference occur.”