Does The Workplace Focus Too Much On Bureaucracy And Not Enough On Creative Thinking?

During a recent panel, report findings raise the question on whether we are focusing too much on bureaucracy and not giving ourselves enough space for creative thinking in the workplace.
  • The Hoxton recently ran a week-long programme of free events, including a panel by WeTransfer that focused on ideas. 
  • WeTransfer found that contrary to current collaboration trends, only 18% of people consult family/ friends/ colleagues when figuring out if an idea is worth pursuing.
  • The presentation raised an important question about the nature of the workplace: are we focusing too much on bureaucracy and not giving ourselves enough space for creative thinking?

To celebrate their foray into the world of coworking with Working From Southwark, The Hoxton ran a week-long programme of free events in conjunction with award-winning learning network YCN. Speakers included influencer brands and publications such as It’s Nice That, Refinery29, gal-dem, The Dots, Courier, Creative Review, and Founders Factory.

AllWork.Space joined for Breakfast with WeTransfer: The Ideas Report on the penultimate day of events  to hear the panel “get real about the maddening, mysterious and messy place where ideas grow”. We also took the opportunity to have a thorough look around afterwards, obvs!

WeTransfer’s presentation during The Hoxton’s week-long programme of free events.

Panellists:

Holly Fraser, Editor in Chief at WeTransfer
Nelly Ben Hayoun, Founder of the University of the Underground 
Nick Eagleton, Co-Founder at Saboteur
Alice Bowsher, London-based illustrator

In 2019 WeTranfer surveyed 20,000 creatives on the topic of “ideas”, from what motivates them to pursue one to the things that distract them from forming ideas in the first place. 

The Ideas Report itself contains pearls of wisdom from bona fide creative ideas people, including photographer David Uzochukwu and writer and cultural critic, Roxanne Gay. 

WeTransfer Ideas Report 2019 highlights

The report makes for an interesting read. Although some of its findings are predictable, others are fairly surprising. For example, only 18% of respondents consult family/ friends/ colleagues when figuring out if an idea is worth pursuing. 

This contradicts the current collaboration trend. 

In fact, with all the branding out there that hinges on the the concept of collaboration, you’d think everyone was exchanging ideas in every corner of every coworking space in the land. But actually, 47% of the creatives said they do research to look into it and then decide, and 31% just go with their own gut instinct. 

WeTransfer also asked participants what they ask themselves when thinking about bringing an idea to life. 52% consider whether the idea is original, and 40% consider whether its timely or relevant. The zeitgeist doesn’t play as big a role in people’s decision making as you might expect, with only 18% prioritising whether it’ll be popular. 

Also, just 26% ask themselves if they can make money from the idea. 

When it comes to hindrances, 42% of creatives say their job is the thing that distracts them from coming up with creative ideas and 26% say social media is to blame. This raises questions about the nature of the workplace: are we focusing too much on bureaucracy and not giving ourselves enough space for creative thinking?

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WeTransfer Ideas Report 2019 contains essays and insights from successful creatives as well as key findings.

More food for thought

A number of interesting questions and tidbits were raised by the panellists and audience during the discussion, some of which will be the focus of upcoming AllWork.Space articles. 

Here are a handful of them.

  • “Activism is bringing ideas into action”.
  • Should we restructure the working day and spend more time “doing” than in meetings?
  • Almost everyone is saddled with imposter syndrome – you’re not alone.
  • We often feel like we should collaborate with others but should we trust our gut more?
  • “Collision” can be a better way of shaping ideas than collaboration.
  • We need to encourage critical thinking in the workplace to create a fertile ground for ideas to thrive.
  • Are brands really becoming more socially and politically engaged, or is it hot air?

Suggested Reading: “Future of Work: Purpose Is the New Black


  • Tips for creative “block”: think about what another brand would do, disconnect from everything, go to a gallery and focus on colours and textures.
  • When grappling with which idea to run with, think about which three you’d save in a fire.

Working From_Southwark

After the event The Hoxton invited us to explore the five floors of coworking space and hot desk for the rest of the day. Of course, being coworking connoisseurs, we took them up on their offer. 

“Duvet days” are one of our personal favourite Working From_ membership perks. These offer free day-use of The Hoxton, Southwark rooms for those who feel run down, tired or just a bit lazy and want to work from the comfort of a bed.

The decor and amenities are pretty nice too… 

Part of the coworking space on the 7th floor.

The view from the 12th floor event space.

For more information, visit the Working From_ website.

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