Tuesday, 14 April 2009

If You're Seeking Good Ideas, Get Outside!

In this month’s British Airways ‘Business Life’ magazine, Chris Barez-Brown from the ?What If! The Innovation Company talked about where he gets his best ideas.

To deal with the challenges of his juggling of work, family, new ventures and admin he seeks ‘the refuge of a flight to get some thinking space, some quiet, some me time’. Chris had the idea for a book whilst walking in Switzerland. He says, ‘what would usually have taken months of hard work became clear in a few hours because the expansive landscape and energetic movement of the trip resulted in expansive and energetic thinking. The same happens to me and many others on a long journey. The varied stimulus and space to ponder is the perfect antidote to today’s business demands’.

This is a theme I have talked about in both of my own books; indeed ‘Leap’ was inspired by trips to California and Spain; ‘Juggle’ was written in Amsterdam and Nice. Flights and train journeys have always – consistently – fuelled my own creativity, whether it is pondering a business challenge over that G&T on take-off or scribbling ideas in my Moleskine. It’s as Kevin Roberts Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi said to me when I interviewed him in Paris, ‘inspiration out is a result of inspiration in’, so if you want to come up with inspiring ideas, get inspired yourself!

And if you don’t have a business trip or a journey on the horizon, try creating a mini inspiration jaunt. Whether a day out or just a trip to a different neighbourhood coffee shop in the morning, that change in environment has the potential to make a big difference to your productivity. And for those of us who spend lots of time working from home, it’s even more critical. Which is why the best way to start your working day is to go outside first, whether to walk the dog or for a first espresso of the day. You might find, like me, that first hour or even half an hour away will really fuel your day with stimulus and creativity.

So if you’re getting stale, go outside, go someplace new. After all, you are never going to have that eureka moment sitting at your desk or in your office.

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