Changing your environment can drastically improve your ability to discover innovative ideas. If you work in an office most of the day, your work distractions will likely inhibit your ability to think creatively. Unless you leave your office, it is difficult to get away from phones, email notifications, people stopping by with questions, and the pile of projects on your desk that remind you how many things need your attention.
Getting a change of scenery can eliminate or reduce many of those distractions to give your mind some “creative space.” Here are a few ways you can change your environment to spark some innovations.
1. Inside/Outside – If you spend most of your time inside, go outside. This can be as simple as going for a walk, or may involve driving to a park or other outside location. Do something that lets your mind forget about the distractions you leave behind in your office. If, instead, you work outside, try going indoors as a change of environment. You can pick a quiet location, such as a library or museum, or pick a location with lots of activity, such as a coffee shop, restaurant or shopping mall.
2. Quiet/Noisy – If you work in a noisy environment, go find a quiet environment for some creative thinking. Some people thrive in a quiet environment and identify many new ideas. Other people actually prefer a noisy environment. Many innovators have told me that they generate their best ideas at busy coffee shops. They believe that the activity level and noise helps stimulate their creative energy. Experiment with both quiet and noisy environments to see which works best for you to develop innovative ideas.
3. Active/Relaxed – If you spend much of your time at a desk or other inactive position, change your environment by increasing your activity. This may include going for a walk, exercising, riding your bike or taking a drive in your car. The activity will be a new stimulus for your innovative thinking. However, if you are active most of the time, take a break and sit down. This lack of activity can help you relax and think about new ideas for your business.
4. Creative Environment – Regardless of where you work, consider moving to a creative environment to help support your creative thinking. Creative environments include locations that display creative works, such as an art gallery, a museum or outside area that displays artistic sculptures. If an art gallery or museum is not convenient, look through a book containing pictures of art or other creations. Creative environments may also include a place where kids are playing – watch the kids and see how many creative ideas they use to make new games, sing songs, and create their own artwork.
Take a break from your usual environment and spend some time creating innovative business ideas. Keep track of the environments that allow you to be most creative, and revisit those environments regularly.
Please share your favorite “innovation environment” in the comments below.