Creative Skill Up
Stimulating designers’ creativityWhat spurs a designer to constantly create with high output?
The challenge to look for the answer has already begun.
Starting from problem awareness and everyday thoughts
The Creative Skill Up team, formed mainly from the Industrial Design Department’s younger generation, is moving forward with various projects to improve designers’ creativity and skills in the department. These include new communication methods and environments that enable work to progress more comfortably and effectively.
Each project starts from individual problem awareness and daily thoughts. Through holding frequent discussions, we develop them by expanding the opinions and ideas of the team. Each project is advanced with a small number of people, and often multiple projects are progressing concurrently.
Various projects that were intended to encourage and allow designers to deliver higher output were started in the past, however, they were led by veterans to principally improve the efficiency of designers’ work, which is a different method from that used currently. At that time, they mainly held study meetings to learn how to use 3D printers and gather data, and participants were limited.
The purpose shifted three years ago to improving designers’ creativity and skills, while initiatives are left to younger people. There is a search for what is required to be done and what to achieve in order for designers to continue producing output that is appropriate for current and future society, then attempts are made to progress with them consecutively. This is the theme assigned to us.
What is the ideal environment for design creation?
“Room Innovation” was realized and involves many people because we received numerous demands from not only team members, but also other staff in the Industrial Design department.
It progressed to respond to calls for “Leaving the office environment where people often have narrower and more restricted thought patterns, as we require an area to generate freely creative ideas.”
The photo above shows a meeting room that was originally inorganic and disorderly, like a randomly laid out warehouse. This space was reconstructed based on a concept of creative space that transforms thoughts, and is now known as the “THE LAB”.
Design magazines from around the world and samples of many other materials were made available and a desktop 3D printer to produce samples quickly was installed inside the room to help transform people's thought processes and stimulate the brain. Also, in order to promote sharing and discussion as soon as we come up with new ideas, sheet-type whiteboard lines the walls.
Creating an easy-to-enter atmosphere for employees so that they can gradually after their feelings from the usual office environment, we eliminated doors on purpose. Instead, we arranged curtains at the entrance to form a semitransparent boundary between the outside and interior. Various experiments for the space such as playing background music are progressing.
As well as this, THE LAB functions as one of the experimental spaces utilized for workshops such as Virtual Reality trial sessions.
A variety of other plans lie ahead of us that will enable us to function as the origin of an extensive range of activities in the future.
How should we design communication?
We are working to allow fresh creative knowledge from outside of the company to enter so that we may attain new perspectives towards problem solving rather than being restricted by holding slavishly to in-office common sense too much.
Last year, we invited a lecturer from outside the company for a “graphic recording*” workshop to record discussions and conversation by using images and illustrations during a meeting.
This idea began from wondering why we experience discrepancies in understanding even after we have all discussed the same subject matter at meetings. We thought that if we communicate not only verbally but also visually, our communication process might become more precise and active. That led us to hold the workshop.
We experienced that drawing images is not difficult and that we can deliver nuance that is hard to convey using only messages by just adding illustrations of faces besides the text. After the workshop, not only designers but also employees from outside the department began to use this method during their meetings. Thus, small but important changes were brought to in-house communications.
This workshop gave not only for designers, but also members of the quality control and marketing divisions, from younger people to veterans, an opportunity to think seriously about the appropriate method of delivering messages to people.
- *A method to record discussion contents and conversations by using a speaker’s illustrations and speech balloons. At the lecture, the important points are written out on a large sheet of paper in real time. This can effectively deliver the contents visually in a clear and easy way.
Aiming to continue delivering higher output as a designer
In the above team, we were emphasizing what we considered interesting and positive while involving other divisions and expanding everyone's scope. The Creative Skill Up team functions in a location that can be used for experiencing information and stimulation that one person alone could never gain and achieve, and is also a valuable space so that people can think for themselves or execute trial and error testing.
Various themes we want to work on are progressing and our future intentions and issues are changing daily. What we are always conscious of in the creative process is the crucial need to continually study and investigate new possibilities.
By carefully nurturing these fundamental attitudes, we intend to continue to effectively evolve our projects.