“Where,” you ask, “do all of the really good ideas come from?”
Beats me. If I knew that, I wouldn’t be sitting here listening to you. I’d be off in the Really Good Idea Place, having a really good idea.
I have a pretty good idea where they don’t come from, though. Your desk, your board room, your office, the place where you usually do your work — you’re not going to come up with any groundbreaking ideas there.
Why? Because nothing different ever happens there. There’s too much sameness in those places to spark any real creativity.
“While it’s obvious that one of the easiest ways to kick-start the brain is by changing the real world that surrounds it, this is rarely done,” John Hunt writes in The Art of the Idea. “Instead, ideas are relentlessly demanded from endless rows of glass cubicles or from the sea of an insipid open plan. It’s difficult to find inspiration when the color scheme of the average workplace is variations of oatmeal and the only part of the environment that talks back to you is the automated coffee machine.”
What’s the solution?
“Change the physical space you’re in,” Hunt writes, “and your brain follows suit.”
It’s true. I get my best ideas while I’m on the treadmill during my lunch break. Breaking the monotony of the office frees my mind to explore.
“Released from the four walls, ideas float everywhere,” Hunt adds. “… By changing our environment, even momentarily, the space we operate in becomes a powerful ally cracking that sediment.”
Need an idea? Stand up. Stretch. Go for a walk. Run an errand. Do something — anything — that’s different than what you usually do. You will force yourself to think differently in the process. Thinking differently, in turn, opens the door to new ideas.
You don’t need complex solutions to solve complex problems.
You just need to mix things up every now and then.