Creating an Innovative Mind: Places

Creating an Innovative Mind:  Places

This is my second post in a three post series on becoming creative. Click here if you missed the first post.

There are a lot of creative people out there. How do innovative people come up with great ideas?  Where do they find the raw materials that new ideas are made of?  The creative innovators became creative; they became innovative, by manipulating the raw materials of experiences and stimulus that they have collected throughout their lifetime. 

In my first post on this topic I discussed how the diversity of humanity can provide a wealth of raw material to inspire and trigger our creativity.  Simply put people are an amazing source of inspiration.

Places are also a great source of alternative thinking.  As I always say “innovation is perspective.”  Sometimes all it takes to jump start your creativity is to change your perspective.  Looking at a challenge from a different angle or from a new or different environment may be all it takes to come up with new or different ideas. New place, new perspective. Remember (from the first post), having rich full lives, full of a diverse range of experiences, is an important first step in creating a creative mind.

Places.  Are you looking for a fresh perspective? Move. Get up and go somewhere else. Anywhere else. I once worked for someone who said “every once in a while you need to go and wash Michigan off of your boots.”  Of course, if you don’t work in Michigan this doesn’t apply to you, however the sentiment should not be lost on you.  The more familiar we get with a place, the less we notice it. The less we notice our surroundings, the less inspired we become. So move.  You can start by sitting at a different desk at work. Your desk is familiar.  Too familiar. So move. Find somewhere new, unfamiliar to work for an hour or a day. Just the experience of working in a different location can cause you to be more creative.

You could work at a local library (remember those?).  Libraries are quiet places that allow for serious focus and reflection. If a thought or idea comes to mind, a library is an excellent place to follow up on your thinking.  Libraries are full of reference materials to follow up with.

You could go to a restaurant to change your point of view.  I have often sat quietly in a corner booth at a local diner sipping on a cup of tea while I worked out the details of my latest project.  The environment of a restaurant is full of people coming and going and thus provides plenty of raw material for your senses to absorb.

When you are at home, you could resist sitting in your usual seat and sit in a different chair. You could sit on the back porch or maybe you could take a walk around the block or to a local park.

You could walk somewhere different each time. A simple change in location can open your mind to a world of alternative thoughts.  It is the alternative thoughts where all the creativity lives.      

You could also take a trip somewhere. Maybe you could experience a different culture or a different climate. You don’t have to go far.  If you have the time and money you could take a cruise to somewhere exotic.  If not, you could go camping just down the road. Over time the more different places you can experience, the more raw material you will have to create with.

A different place could be as simple as sitting on the other side of the table. A change of venue could be small and simple or it could be large and complicated. Whether it is a trip to the other side of the table, the other side of the room, the other side of the planet, or the other side of the galaxy, a change of location can provide a wealth of creative inspiration.

The ultimate change in environment would be to change jobs. I am not talking about going to work for a competitor.  I am talking about changing your career. If you were able to change careers, the new position would be completely new to you and you would be able to offer a completely new perspective with new solutions in your new role.

Of course a new career might be a bit risky.  If you are not quite up to taking on a risk of this nature you could look for new roles or new places you could garner new experiences (new raw materials) to stimulate your creativity. You could attend some college classes (preferably at the school and not online!) that would change you’re your environment on a regular basis. You could also volunteer somewhere that would take you out of your normal routine and away from your standard places.

You could even travel “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” by watching a movie at the theater and thinking about what it would be like to live in the fantasy land created by George Lucas. 

There are a lot of creative people out there.  Are you one of them? Where might you go to garner a new perspective?

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