Is everyone capable of being creative?
If you’re thinking ‘no’ - tut tut! Creativity is for everyone and indulging your imaginative side is a great way to embrace innovative thinking. As Meredith Whitely of Food at Heart says, everyone is creative in their own way – whether you’re designing websites, writing content, delivering monthly results or improving work processes.
So how can you stimulate your creative side? How can you motivate your colleagues to do the same, and bring a fresh and exciting perspective to the daily routine?
We caught up with Meredith to chat about her cre-ATE workshops and creative release through cooking.
Marketing Pandas (MP): Before we chat about cre-ATE, we’re keen to learn more about your journey from ecommerce superstar to foodie entrepreneur …
Meredith Whitely (MW): Food and cooking are two things that I have always been passionate about, and creative release through cooking is incredibly important to me, especially after a long day in the office.
My love for food and creativity is something that I always wanted to share with others and pursuing this as a career has always been a dream of mine. That’s why I decided to leave my role at eBay. I founded Food at Heart with the aim of helping people find interesting food-related events, workshops and -provide suggestions to encourage creative cooking. Basically it’s about having fun with something that is important to everyone: food.
MP: And what inspired you to bring cre-ATE to life?
MW: Creativity is so important in our daily lives. The pressures of day-to-day tasks can really affect our ability to relax, step back, and view things from a different angle. It’s because of this that I was inspired to bring cre-ATE to life; to show others how they can use mindfulness, movement, meditation and curiosity to stimulate creative thinking through cooking. Awakening the senses and experimenting with flavours and food textures is a great way to pique curiosity and get things started.
MP: What can participants expect when they attend a session?
MW: When it comes to cre-ATE sessions, themes and tasks differ depending on the needs of participants. To help kick-start the creative process, the sessions will always incorporate elements of the 3 Ms: meditation, movement and mindfulness.
Awareness of different senses is also explored; activities such as blind tasting encourage participants to experience everyday foods in a new way. Most importantly, the sessions will always be hands-on: it’s all about getting people in the kitchen, experimenting with different flavours and ingredients to create something that they can enjoy with their colleagues afterwards.
MP: How important is it to sit and enjoy a meal with your colleagues after the session?
MW: Really important! It’s a great time to relax, chat about session highlights and enjoy what you’ve created. Embracing the 3 Ms together allows you to be more aware of the people you work with– sharing your thoughts on the experience afterwards helps to develop this further. It’s a great team building experience and the atmosphere is very different from just going to the pub after work.
MP: Coming from an ecommerce background yourself, we’re keen to know how you feel cre-ATE sessions would benefit fellow ecommerce champions?
MW: It’s so easy to get trapped in things like product releases and deadlines – sometimes you can forget to look up from the computer and live in the moment. It’s important to break out of work thoughts and get away from to-do lists and do something completely different to stimulate divergent thinking. The cre-ATE sessions help people become more aware of this and show them how to take creative action … sometimes we’re all guilty of looking at something so much that we don’t actually see it.
MP: What about people who feel they can't cook...? Any advice to help reduce the cooking nerves? MW: Cre-ATE sessions aren’t about cooking skills. The recipes we use are simple and I’m always around to help. The point of a session is just to give it a go – to experiment and be curious. Moving outside of your own comfort zone is always great for developing creativity. In fact, feeling a little bit scared and nervous is a sign that you’re about to have a creative breakthrough!
Big thanks to Meredith for taking the time to chat with us ...
We had the pleasure of attending a cre-ATE workshop not long ago and we had a fantastic time - take a look at our cre-ATE experience! Interested in finding out more about this amazing team building experience?