Sometimes the day-to-day work of a change practitioner can feel very routine. But especially as you take on more responsibility supporting major change initiatives, those times become fewer and fewer. While the science of change management provides you with a strong underpinning for the work you are doing, you find yourself also being called on to be a change management artist. You are facing situations that are new to you and everyone on your team, and neither your methodology nor your training offers any guidance.

It’s time to talk a walk!

In this TED talk, Marily Oppezzo reports on the results of four studies focused on the first part of the creative process, coming up with new ideas. In the studies, creative ideas as those that are both appropriate and novel. Ms. Oppezzo focused on one for this talk. In that study the subjects were assigned to one of three groups. One sat for both creativity tests. The next sat for the first test and walked on a treadmill for the second. The third group walked for the first test and sat for the second.

When comparing the levels of creativity for each of these groups, the first (sit/sit) measured the lowest. The second (sit/walk) was low on creativity in the first test but became much more creative when walking during the second test. The third group (walk/sit) began with high levels of creativity while walking and retained much of that creativity while sitting during the second test. All the studies came to the same conclusion as this one; walking fuels creativity.

What do you need to do to help nurture your creative problem solving? Ms. Oppezzo offers the following guidelines.

  1. “Pick a problem/topic to brainstorm.”
  2. “Walk at a comfortable pace while you are brainstorming.”
  3. “Come up with as many ideas as you can.”
  4. “Speak and record your ideas.”
  5. “Cap your time.”

When the science of change management isn’t enough, take a walk!