What inspires you to unleash creativity? The big ideas and breakthrough thinking that will move you and your organization closer to the future you want?
In this era of invention it’s worth considering. The artist needs to tap into the source that inspires creativity. Increasingly, so does the Sales Professional, HR Manager and Chief Marketing Officer. As our problems become increasingly more complex and the pace of change continues to accelerate, everyone needs the ability to create what is next and new.
That requires spending time working both in the business (doing the work) and on the business (inventing the future). How do you find the time to stop working and start inventing? Creating something new when there are very real time, financial and resource constraints can prove to be a difficult and delicate balance.
However, it is the work that must be done.
37signals took an unconventional approach to invention by posing this simple question: What if everyone was given a stretch of free time to work on whatever he or she wanted?
In June, they decided to find out by setting aside all nonessential product work and allowed people to work on whatever they wanted–new product ideas, features, business models, whatever. At the end of the month, people would present their ideas. A month off to invent the future. How can they afford to put business on hold for a month to “mess around” with new ideas?
Their perspective is “How can we afford not to?”
Big ideas and bold steps forward don’t come from business as usual.
What if you carved out a stretch of free time to work on whatever you wanted?
I have accepted that challenge in my own business. July and December are invention months. We downgrade the traditional work in the business and focus on time to:
Think & Play. In an era of all the time connectivity there is increasing competition for the attention required to engage in slow, solitary, meaningful thought. That requires rest and relaxation. That leads to rejuvenation. I’ve come to realize that working a lot less for a period of time is a powerful prescription for invention. In fact, not doing much of anything at all seems to work in awakening the creative spirit. It’s also fun!
Go Places & Meet People. Going somewhere new and being proactive about putting new people into our lives is well worth the effort. Those places and especially the people will help us think differently if we let them. New places and people open us up. Provide a sense of adventure and renewed spirit. Inspired experiences can translate into inspired thinking and action.
Read & Write. Reading ignites the imagination. Writing improves and organizes critical thinking. Not a bad idea to carve out a little time for study and creative expression in an effort to improve our work life. I’ve been checking boxes on the summer reading list and that daily habit has to continue.
Investing time for invention helps a better business emerge. Good ideas are are all around us. They live inside us. Sometimes you just have to stop and let them surface.
When the status quo means falling behind that is time well spent.
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