November 17, 2009
Thaw Out Your Brain
Coming up with good, new ideas is the hardest thing I do. Some people seem to have a hundred ideas a day. Often they are entrepreneurs driving their people nuts with their lack of focus, and usually most of their ideas are bad. But if one percent are good, that's one good idea a day--a very impressive output!
What about the rest of us? How can we get creative?
A recent SmartMoney piece offers a bit of scientific backing to the notion I've blogged about here before. Ideas come in the shower, when you're relaxed, when you're not at work, when you're not thinking about the problem at all.
That's the way it is for me. It's when I'm home, away from the office, that new ideas (sometimes good, sometimes not so good) hit me. That's one reason it's often good to have formal brainstorming sessions away from the regular work environment. New surroundings that don't feel quite like "work" can help loosen things up.
Or consider Clarence Birdseye, founder of Birds Eye Foods. He was a naturalist working for the government in the early 1900s on assignment in Labrador where he was taught how to ice fish by the Inuit. He noticed that at -40°C the fish froze very quickly and tasted very fresh when cooked later. This guy was a naturalist. But fast freezing was the innovation that revolutionized the food industry and launched him in an entirely different career.
So loosen up, relax, get in a new environment and thaw out your brain.