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April, 2024

Interbrand and Unyoked study explores nature’s impact on commercial creativity

A new report by Interbrand Australia and Unyoked exploring the impact of nature on commercial creativity has found less pressure even as constraints drive lateral thinking.

The study involved employees from Interbrand’s design, writing, and strategy departments making solo trips to various Unyoked sites across NSW, where they worked on client briefs. The participants’ work was reviewed by their managers and Interbrand Australia’s CEO, Nathan Birch, and evaluated based on strategic alignment, creative bravery, originality, craft, quantity, quality, and commerciality.

Participants reported improvements in wellbeing, originality, and the quality of their creative outcomes. Four key findings emerged from the study. The first was less pressure leads to more flow. However, constraints also sparked creativity, with cabin mode seeing people lose their conventionality. The third finding was focused solitude builds confidence, while the fourth was embracing nature leads to heightened experiences.

“Beyond the break from routine, the focus and clarity that came from a meeting-free day was a true luxury. Removing the usual distractions gave me the space to be more intentional with my time. But the most impressive thing to come from the study was the confidence our younger creatives found. With complete autonomy came a new level of bravery in their decision making,” said Interbrand Associate Creative Director, Megan Schierhout.

Birch noted the changing work environment for creatives, not necessarily for the better. “Long hours have led to staleness. Economic pressures mean a need to do more with less. Tech has people questioning their processes and validity. Maybe things need to change a bit, starting with the environment in which people create. This was the seed of our idea to test how and where creativity flourishes,” he said.

CEO and Founder of Unyoked, Cam Grant, also shared his thoughts on the creative benefits of time outdoors.

“The creative benefits of time outdoors is something which, while not fully understood by most of us, can be a superpower if you know how to use it. Having used nature to come up with a lot of the ideas that have grown our business, we couldn’t be more stoked to work on this report with Interbrand and hopefully help a few other creatives to find nature and build it into their routines.”

Birch said not only were there clear wellbeing and cultural benefits from the team working in nature, but from a commercial perspective, more originality and more authentic thinking, writing, and creative output emerged.

“As a creative business experimenting, testing, learning, and iterating is something we do as a business, not just what we expect from our people – we support experimentation with experimentation,” he added.

The study will be rolled out globally throughout the year, with creatives from the UK and NZ being invited to test the findings and share their own experiences. Interbrand and Unyoked plan to co-design a Work In Nature (WIN) policy based on the study’s findings, which can be adopted and adapted by any business that applies creative thinking.

Scientific studies have found that spending time immersed in a natural environment and disconnecting from technology enhances creativity and improves problem-solving skills by up to 50%.