Do you have those bad headaches sometimes? Not the migraines but the headaches that make you want to go back to bed and sleep for awhile to get rid of them?
I have those, specially in the winter when I don’t go out as often as during the 3 other seasons. So I know it’s a fresh air issue! When it happens, I go out for a quick 15 minutes walk and normally it does the trick.
Going out also does something wonderful for me…it refreshes my thoughts! During that time, thinking of nothing but the sound of birds and wind makes me relax and I get brand new ideas. Wonderful!
Do you have ways to get new ideas. Here are some exercises to do just that, from Barry Staw, an organizational behaviorist at University of California, Berkeley:
1. Re-imagine a familiar situation
To think more creatively, consider alternatives to obvious choices. If you assume that a restaurant will buy and prepare the ingredients for your meal, then make a list of other options. Perhaps the customers bring their own ingredients for the chef to prepare, or the restaurant provides ingredients that customers cook at their tables. “Think of opposites or radical differences,” Staw says.
That exercise can lead to exciting new business ideas. For example, companies like Bag Borrow or Steal and Rent the Runway, which both allow customers to rent high fashion goods, started as alternatives to the assumption that we have to own our wardrobes.
2. Practice breaking the rules
“To learn how to act creatively, you have to violate norms,” Staw says. Practice breaking the rules with harmless violations that might be embarrassing or uncomfortable, like asking to read a poem over the loudspeaker at the grocery store, or offering to help the usher hand out programs at a play.
It’s okay if you get shot down — the point is to get comfortable trying options that most people would rule out immediately. Staw calls these “lessons in chutzpah” because they help you gather the nerve to take creative risks. Just thinking of rules to bend promotes creativity because you force your brain out of its comfort zone.
You can also look for ways that others are breaking norms. For example, Staw’s son discovered that teenage girls like mismatched socks, so he created LittleMissMatched, a colorful teen clothing line.
3. Make a list of things that bother you
As you go about your day, Staw suggests creating a “bug list,” or a list of annoyances. You might list slow internet or noisy air conditioner units. “Usually, if something has bothered you, that means there’s a hole in the service,” Staw says.
By thinking of possible solutions, you may stumble on a product opportunity. For example, one frustrated inventor created a stemware tether to stop wine glasses from chipping in the dishwasher.
Boost your creativity and you’ll be in business!