Take inspiration from the baseball season as you strive to discover great ideas and solve problems. These habits will boost your thinking:
- Go out to the ballpark, or anywhere other than your office. When you take a break from focusing on a problem, your brain will continue to work on it in the background.
- Play. Have a hobby and spend time with interesting people. Innovators often make connections between seemingly unrelated things. If the bookmarks slipping out of his choir hymnal had not frustrated Art Fry, 3M may have never found a marketable use for the low-tack adhesive Spencer Silver had invented. And we wouldn’t have Post-it notes and other products.
- Be a team member. Collaborate with your colleagues. Talk about your problems and ideas. Build on and combine each other’s thoughts.
- Keep records. Don’t rely on being able to scrawl your great idea on the back of a napkin. Always carry a way to record your thoughts. It doesn’t matter whether you choose a paper or digital method, as long as it’s always available and easy to use. Review those notes periodically, because sometimes ideas take a while to simmer.
- Meet the fans. Your customers, that is. Chemists at Procter & Gamble spent years trying to invent a better cleaning solution for mopping. But when P&G partnered with an outside firm, that company watched customers cleaning their own floors and discovered the problem was with the mop. The result: the Swiffer line of products, which is worth about half a billion dollars a year.
Finally, keep swinging. Remember, base hits can lead to the scoring run, and when you swing hard you’re likely to miss sometimes—but you also can hit a home run.
See ideas through to action with tips in the Communication Briefings E-letter.
What habits do you have for spurring your creativity?