How to become a super hero with Creative freedom?

Written by: Lana Leas-Roy

Recently I have read a number of articles how many companies around the globe such as Dropbox, General Electric , Github, Grant Thornton(US) and even locally in SA, Investec etc. are giving their staff various physical freedoms such as unlimited leave, shorter working hours, freedom to wear comfortable clothing at work as well as longer paternity leave for fathers.

I think this is so on par as to where the world of work is evolving by realising that people in the workplace are adults and should be able to make their own “professional and accountability” decisions.

But today in my blog as much as I commend the approach of physical freedom in the workplace – long may it live……..I need to bring your attention to a different type of freedom in the workplace -that of Creative Freedom.

In a small farm amid gently rolling hills. There was once a playful Labrador retriever named Satre. Everyday Satre would leap over the fences at the back of the farm to run through the woods and chase squirrels. Eventually, the fence was dismantled, freeing poor Satre from the burden of having to hop over it every time he wanted to frolic, but Satre still jumped every time he came across the spot where the barrier had been. He had developed a set of memories and assumptions that made it almost impossible for him to notice that the fence was no longer there.

The dog’s mistake may seem comical, yet it exposes profound truths about human-nature.

What Satre the dog failed to realise is that mental models that we create in our brain can both guide us as well as set us free, But they can also obscure the truth and hold you back. They trap you in rigid assumptions and well-worn paths of action. They push you towards tire routines and stale conventions. They choke your creativity, they hold you back. In summary we have become incarcerated creatives.

However, by giving people the ability to practice creative freedom through teaching people the integral skills of Creativity, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking, it will spur a person to dream up multiple future scenarios in which you could be doing business, and thus better prepare for whatever the future holds.

Creative freedom guides you toward a more open way of thinking about your life and shows you how to ask the right questions to better enable you to reach all your goals both personal and professional.

To quote Nick Udall from Nowhere Consulting: ”Creativity is the dance between what we know and what we don’t know, and it is through this dance that we make meaning of the world around us, making the unknown knowable, the unconscious conscious, and the invisible visible.”

The challenge is to awaken particular states and qualities of mind that help our creativity flourish, and to interrupt those states and qualities of mind that kill our creativity. Creative Freedom is about finding the right keys to open the locks that we have over the years kept so secure, allowing a myriad of creative thoughts to flood our brains.

I love the fact that companies are offering incredible physical and emotional freedoms to their staff. But to add to their journey of awarding “freedoms”, I believe companies need to passionately drive creative freedom in their staff. They need to empower their staff with skills to free their minds of trapped and stale ideas and processes and help people to practice inductive thinking instead of deductive thinking. Creative Freedom is the key to people having greater confidence, better problem solving techniques, becoming more adaptable in A VUCA world as well as creating better opportunities for all employees.

Give people in your company the whole package of physical, emotional and creative freedom……and watch a superhero appear with unlimited super powers and creative arsenal that could make Thanos shiver in his grave.


  • Luc de Brabandere, Alan Iny (2013). A New Paradigm for Business Creativity -Thinking in New Boxes. New York: Random House.
  • Nick Udall (2019), Why teams are often less than the sum of their parts, Hidden series, Nowhere Group Ltd; United Kingdom
  • Bombi Mavundza, Business Insider SA, June 24, 2019, 05:35 PM



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