I am interested in creating new products and concepts by co-creation which will improve the wellbeing of employees in organisations. My goal is to improve health in businesses by together discovering which are the best ways fitting the organisation.
Change in mental health
The many opportunities society offers us, are overwhelming. As a result, we lose control of who we are and who we want to become. We focus on work, because that is clear and certain. This made us machines who are living, but not truly are alive. Mental health issues are growing massively nowadays. Especially students and employees in businesses feel emotionally exhausted. According to the LSvB, the Dutch organisation for health among students, three out of four students feel emotionally exhausted. Resulted that 34,6% of them is more vulnerable of having a burn-out (Boer, 2017). They feel pressured and they feel the need they have to succeed. The past years, I researched a variety of topics regarding the health domain, like happiness, (work) pressure, play and creativity in business, performance society and personal needs and subjectives. All these topics are related to the same focus point, which is: the change and wellbeing of employees and employers in organisations.
During my research, creativity emerged as an important player in this story, because more and more organisations are striving to become more creative. According to Sonja Balzarolo, who wrote an article about ‘why creativity is good for business’, harnessing creative skills of your employees, will encourage a culture of problem-solving, innovation and ideas. NASA also describes creativity as a unique combination of cognitive skills and behaviours for solving problems in new ways. Besides, Google favors creativity (Balzarolo, 2017). They created a creative work environment which reduces stress, makes employees more productive and creative. Besides it brings trust, vulnerability and it strengthens the community feeling within employees (Catmull, 2008). I really like creativity, because creativity stimulates to let go of familiar routines, broadens perspectives and it helps to go to different and new directions. However, people are so focused on being creative, that creativity gives a lot of pressure and stress. Especially in the so called ‘performance society’ we live in right now.
Due to the effects of the performance society, we eventually reach a personal breaking point, causes burn-outs, depressions, or other mental health issues. Sometimes after a burn-out, people completely change their lives to search for inner peace, and to find out who they are. They feel the need to, because due to all the opportunities they have lost their own identity. Which is also the title of my article. Do you know who you truly are? I believe the social challenge here is that working pressure is growing among employees and that both the employees and the employers not know how to cope with this growth.
I believe it is not possible to solve this challenge by a set and simple solution. It needs a step by step approach, which helps organisations cope with this challenge. If we want to prevent the increase of mental health issues in the future, companies need to provide employees with guidance to stimulate them to find their personal needs and dreams. They need to help them stay ambitious and driven, and at the same time provide opportunities for them to step out of daily routines to relax, have fun, and to recharge. I believe if companies implement small interventions during the daily lives of their employees, mental health issues will decrease in the future.
That is why questions such’s as: “How might we increase the mental health conditions of the employees in an organisation? Or: “is providing employees with momentarily escapes, for example play, enabling them to give rest to their minds during working days?” Or: How can we create environments and situations where people feel they can be their self for the full 100%?” are wandering in my mind.
Besides that, I am expert in this topic, I also have other experiences which could be interested. I have done a project for the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht. During this period, I organized a theme week with the children who were in the hospital. To give shape to the week, the children’s wishes, needs and dreams have been mapped using creative techniques. In addition, children from primary schools created the design and also contributed to the content of the week. Besides, I have worked as an intern in the Performatory, focused on the specialisation called ‘Experience Design’. Experience Design is one of the three courses. In this design, Performatorians learn to create meaningful and transformative experiences by co-creating in all kind of ways. Here I facilitated theme days, created articles which involved storytelling, and have I become more expert in Experience Design.
I also facilitated a change process at Albert Heijn. The management had a challenge regarding the sick leave of employees in their affiliation. During the whole project I facilitated several interventions which helped the managers and employees to see new possibilities to work with the problem instead of keep being focused on solving the problem, without any successes. Due to my presence, they were enabled to let go of their fixed thinking patterns to see the challenge from a different perspective.
Besides these projects, I also obtained a diploma in powerful/motivational coaching. During this study I learned how to coach people in their personal development questions. I am able to sense emotions, to ask the right questions and to dig deeper than the surface to create sustainable change. I use my qualities: ‘sensitive, reliable and empathy’, to connect to others and to let them find out who they truly are, what their strengths are and how they can insert them.
These projects and my experiences during the minor confirmed my perspective about my social challenge even more. I even realised that it goes deeper then only using creativity as an approach to break the automatic routines. It is the identity which is fading away due to all the opportunities, innovations and the pressure to perform. Using creative and playful ways will help to go on a journey to find your passion, ambition and course back in this hectic, busy and performance society. In other words: it helps to go on a journey to find YOU.
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- Balzarolo, S. (2017, August 15). Why creativity is good for business. Opgeroepen op November 2019, van https://www.businessbusinessbusiness.com.au/?s=why+creativity+is+good+for+business
- Boer, T. d. (2017, oktober). Onderzoeksrapport mentale gezondheid studenten. Opgeroepen op November 2019, van LSVB: https://lsvb.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/LSVb-2016-Onderzoeksrapport-mentale-gezondheid-van-studenten.pdf
- Catmull, E. (2008, September). How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity. Opgeroepen op November 2019, van Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2008/09/how-pixar-fosters-collective-creativity
- Verhaege, P. (2019, January 22). We concurreren met onszelf dat maakt dat je nooit klaar bent. Opgeroepen op November 2019, van NRC: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2019/01/22/we-concurreren-met-onszelf-dat-maakt-dat-je-nooit-klaar-bent-a3651146