Retrieving Creativity

Workplace Seminar & Social Year-End Wrap Up

When the David C., the Go Green Choices Co-ordinator* for a Vancouver-area municipality arrived on-site for the Work@ Reckless Painting seminar, he wasn’t quite sure what he’d gotten himself into. Go Green Choicesstaff were helping workshop leader Arthur Orsini set up the workspace by laying down tarps and covering tables with newspaper. David looked at a pile of men’s shirts on the chair and paused… “Are we painting?” he asked. You bet!

retrieving creativity for work colleagues

Arthur leading the troops at the most inspirational seminar of the year

Painting is the technique that Arthur uses to help people re-capture their creativity and explore new approaches to situations. Since people are often intimidated by creative or artistic pursuits, like painting, we had not mentioned specifically what exercises the seminar would employ to help people retrieve their creativity. (2012flyer 400KB)

Work-at-Reckless-Painting-2012

Work@ RecklessPainting (2012 flyer)

As Go Green Co-ordinators, we are often confronted with negative reactions to the Transportation Demand Management initiatives we might want to implement.

I can’t carpool / take the bus / ride my bike / walk / etc. to work.

There’s no money for incentives / shower and change facilities / bike racks / preferred vanpool parking, or subsidized transit passes.

…are phrases that Go Green Co-ordinators often hear.

After a while, this negative refrain impacts our motivation level. It is important that when we feel discouraged or unmotivated, for us to re-examine the sources of our inspiration.

Through several painting exercises, Arthur encouraged us to think about the reasons we started doing the type of work we do, in or official jobs, and as Go Green Co-ordinators. Working with a partner, we explained what we had drawn in response to Arthur’s direction, and why.

Building on that exercise, Arthur led us through the next painting exercise in which we were to paint our work-spaces. This was really enlightening – it, and the discussion that followed, helped us focus on what aspects of our workspace nourish us and sustain our momentum. It helped us identify key factors about our workspace from which we draw energy to keep moving forward.

Now that we had the creative juices flowing, and had again connected with our inspiration, we were ready to work collectively. Our next exercise involved partners painting on half of a page, and then matching up the two blank areas, we painted from our partner’s painting back towards our own painting – incorporating and blending elements of both paintings together to find some middle ground.

This is a challenge we face regularly in our daily lives; perhaps even more so as Go Green Co-ordinators as we must work extra hard to meet some people halfway.

The goal of this seminar certainly wasn’t to paint a masterpiece, but participants went home inspired and reconnected to the creative energy in all of us that motivates our work and play!

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* adapted from a newsletter article in BEST’s Go Green Choices Getting to Work, Winter/Spring 2001
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