While many people say they want to be more innovative and solve problems better, they tend to get stuck in comfortable routines. Alas, a comfortable brain quickly becomes a lazy brain. In this new year, resolve to put your brain on an exercise regimen and find new power in your ideas.
Here are 5 ways to help you break with routine and come up with bigger, better, bolder ideas.
walk this way
1. Enter your office from a different door than you normally use. Take a tour: walk around using a different lens than you usually default to and shoot some photos or video. For some apps to try, click here: 20+ photo apps every photographer should have on their phone
After you’ve shot, go back and take a look. What can you see that you hadn’t noticed before? Something nice? Something that needs attention? What supports your brand, and what doesn’t? Are these things that customers notice, but you’ve missed?
2. Repeat the exercise above, but this time do it while walking backwards. Then ask yourself the questions again.
take a soak
3. Einstein and Picasso are said to have taken baths to get new ideas. The famous James Dalton Trumbo was known for actually writing while in the tub. Why? It’s the conscious interruption of work that lets your mind wander freely. Disruption! It’s time alone with no one to bother you. Relax, take your time. Leave the phone away, but bring a pencil and notepad. Let your mind wander and see what new thoughts and ideas bubble up.
4. Remember the pleasures of childhood such as Trick-or-Treat, slumber parties and indoor “camping” under the sofa cushions? Those fun times kindled the imagination and opened new doors and vast frontiers. Use one of these activities of the past—or another you loved—as inspiration for a retreat on your own or with your team. Create a theme, then find the appropriate location, food and music. Get offsite and use this fresh format to work on ideas. You’ll be surprised at the new ideas that come galloping in.
If you need help, call in an expert like Cheryl Clark at Dare to Dream Events to put together the event logistics for you.
shatter your assumptions
5. When you assume… well, you know what happens to you and me. Be ready to question everything and ask what it could be instead.
Does the company picnic actually have to be a picnic? Outside?
What are some other assumptions you’ve accepted—and could break and reassemble? Here’s a starter list:
- the annual retreat is always annual
- employee training must be done by trainers
- work hours are measured in hours
- birthdays are celebrated one day
- supervisors are always in charge
Make your own list, then pull the ideas apart. How can you make them different, new and more effective?
get your creative muscles in shape
Jon Gordon says that “distractions are the enemy of greatness.” Don’t just wish for creativity and innovation. Exercise your brain with intention. Recruit your colleagues. Keep trying. Repeat. With focus, you’ll be amazed at the new ideas that start to flow. Let's go!
For another article on innovation, see our blog post: How an employee ride-along can spur innovation and sales.
Brain photo credit: //unsplash.com/@pawel_czerwinski" Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash.