The next time you’re struggling with a business analyst related problem, try taking a walk. Even a short stroll around the office can significantly boost your creative focus – both in the immediate moment and in the long term.
The Stanford Study on Creativity
Memory, decision-making, and organization are some of your most important skills as a business analyst.
The Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition is just one of several journals that reports how walking improves memory and executive functions of the brain. These key areas of the brain are important for making decisions and organizing your thoughts.
Another way walking improves your business analyst practice is it makes you more creative. Researchers at Stanford University recently made the connection between walking and creativity with the following study:
1. Each participant in the study had a dull room consisting of just one desk and one treadmill.
2. One by one, each participant had to complete a series of psychological tests based on coming up with creative solutions (one of the tests would involve something like finding uses for a common object, like a pair of scissors).
3. The participants completed a series of two tests – one while at the desk, and the other while walking on the treadmill at a comfortable pace. Each test lasted only eight minutes.
The result of this study was astounding, and it should perk your ears as a business analyst. For every participant in the study, the treadmill allowed 60 percent more “novel and appropriate” ideas for the object in the test.
Is it Practical for Business Analysts?
While walking does increase creativity and helps you solve problems as a business analyst, you won’t be able to request a treadmill in every meeting you attend. Not only is it a little ludicrous, it’s simply not possible.
The researchers in the study, fortunately, considered this. After all, the goal of the study was to see how to improve creativity for all professions – not just for business analysts.
The study went on to test if the effects from the walk lasted after the walking ended. This follow-up tests involved participants going through a combined tests where they both walked and sat, with breaks in-between.
What happened next is, again, astounding. After each walk, the results from the sit-down test improved – even after taking a break.
The benefit of walking to improve creativity is of particular importance for using the agile method of business analysis. With the agile method, you have to use creativity to move the project forward. Studies like this one that show how to increase creativity are effective and helpful for business analysts. If you find any more studies like these online, please forward them to me.
Does The Environment Matter?
The short answer is no, the environment does not make a difference. The study found that it did not matter if the participants were staring at a blank wall or a grassy area in a park. The only thing that mattered was the walking.
Walking can improve your creativity that’s useful for working with the agile method – however, walking alone won’t help you. You need to understand how every technique works, so you can use your creativity and intelligence to your advantage.
My course teaches you agile method and allows you to receive 16 hours of PD/CDU from the IIBA. It will not only increase your business analysis skills, it will teach you the necessary methods to improving your position as a BA in your company.