Creating an Innovative Mind: Pondering

Creating an Innovative Mind:  Pondering

This is third post in a continuing series on becoming creative. Click here if you missed the previous pots.

How do innovative people become innovative? Where does their creativity come from? How can you become creative? It starts with the raw materials of the imagination. In this post I discuss ponder. Or more correctly how to use thinking to generate more raw materials for your brain.

 “Thinking is the best way to travel” is more than a song by the Moody Blues.  Focused thinking on any topic can bring about great revelations, or ideas.  Pondering refers to thinking carefully about something before committing to a conclusion. Creative people spend a great deal of time pondering.

In my first post on this topic I discussed how taping into the vast wealth of inspirational material provided by the diversity of humanity is simply amazing.

In my second post in this series I talked about how changing your location is a change to your perspective.  Since “innovation is perspective,” a change of location will change how you look at everything and open doors into new solution spaces.

Pondering.  Are you looking for that creative spark?  Have you thought about it? Focused thinking, otherwise known as pondering could be the answer.  Taking some time to meditate and think of a past memory may be the source of a new perspective on a past occurrence. Our memories are another “place” we can go for raw material. This is why I think therapy is so useful. By talking about our experiences and feelings out loud we can organize and clarify our thoughts which may lead to new perspectives to consider.

Mediation can also lead to new perspectives. I think of meditation in the same vein as soak time. Allowing your mind to wander freely can a raw material experience that you can use later when seeking solutions. When your mind is in a relaxed state it functions differently, perhaps more efficiently or at the very least focused. I have discovered watching a fish tank (even just a digital one!) is much like meditating. Watching the fish swim around the tank calms my mind and improves my creative bank of resources.

Reading. As I suggested in my post on “places,” you can travel to “a galaxy far, far away” by reading a book. Books, and to a lesser extent movies, are creative raw material by their very definition. Whether you seek out a specific topic, genre or randomly select something off of the self, by exposing yourself to the vast library of books in the world you will provide your brain with ample material to form new points of view, i.e. perspectives. Growing up, books provided me with such a wealth of experience that I cannot imagine what my life would have been without them. I still remember riding my bike the mile and a half to the nearest public library where I would peruse the vast selection authors offering up their recorded experiences, select a few and then ride home only to repeat the whole process again the following weekend. Thanks mom for nurturing that curiosity!

Lectures. Another way to get others to share their experiences is by attending a lecture. You can select a lecture the same way that I select books at the local library. It doesn’t matter what the topic is as all lectures aim to share knowledge that you can later fashion in your own creative way.

College courses. Additionally, I have attended many a college course lecture. You don’t have to pursue a degree to attend some college courses. If you are lucky enough to live near a college or university you can often take advantage of their offerings. You can even take classes online and experience the collected thoughts of the instructors, students, and course materials.

The arts. Concerts, opera, plays, and poetry readings are all great mind opening experiences. Although I have not yet attended an opera, I have been to my share of concerts both rock and classical. I have attended poetry readings. I have experienced plays that were put on in my middle school to ones that were on Broadway. I once attended a ballet featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov. It was very inspiring.  All of these artistic performances have added to my mind’s raw material base and continue to shape who I am.

Pondering, of course, is both a raw material collector and an idea generation technique.  I will address idea generation methods in future posts. For now I would like to know what you think. Or should I say ponder?

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