Get Out Of The Office! (Your Creativity Depends On It)

 Summer is nigh. And, no doubt, too many creative types have been stuck indoors letting their inspiration be sucked away by fluorescent lights.

 This Video Insider is a call to arms.

 A call to get outside and seek inspiration from your community.

As marketers, we spend so much time talking about how to tap into communities that we sometimes forget to get out into those very communities.

 Creative is fed by emotion. Emotion is fed through experiences. The hope is you pass this article to someone. Convince a boss to let you do your next brainstorm outside the office. Show an employee how to use their community to spur inspiration.

The following are five tips and the rationale for why they might just help your next script, storyboard or brainstorm. Now, get outside! Your creativity depends on it.

1. Get on the bus. “Free association” is a common technique in the creative process. It can be helped along by flipping through magazines, playing games or just riffing off a colleague.

Or, you can get on a bus.

One of the best brainstorms I’ve ever participated in was on a  bus going through San Francisco. Pick the right route at the right time and you get 1) a look at every socioeconomic level, and 2) constant visual inspiration from the businesses, signs, walkers and imagery constantly passing outside the window.

In fact, a study out of the University of Maine on the topic of Creativity, oversensitivity, and rate of habituation suggests "that creative individuals may be motivated to approach novelty rather than avoid repetition. That is, their preference for novel stimuli may not, as might intuitively be expected, arise from boredom or fast rates of habituation.”

So, novel stimuli outside a bus window might be just what you need.


2. Embrace your animal instincts. It’s amazing what you can learn and where your mind goes when watching animals. In particular, how calming and rhythmic the motion of fish.

The book "Learning From Animals?" explains it well by reminding us “it is useful to compare species because contrast often leads to discovery.” The book further goes on to say: "Since we cannot go back in time and certain traits such as behaviour and cognition do not fossilize, comparing those traits across a variety of extant species is one of the main tools that we have at our disposal to make inferences about the evolution of those traits. This is not a foolproof method but at least it can give us some hints about how certain traits may have evolved."

Said another way: animals remind us of our base instincts. And, at the core of everything we do as professionals, is try to tap into the emotion and psychology of our base instincts.

You’d be surprised. Spend a half day at the zoo or aquarium. See what unique ideas come to mind.

3. We’re ad people: a bar This is not about abuse of alcohol. Believe it or not, there is some science here.

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago recently found that a couple of drinks could open up creativity. In fact, the lead researcher, Dr. Jennifer Wiley, went so far as to say “Innovation may happen when people are not so focused. Sometimes it’s good to be distracted.”

The research found that at 0.07 blood alcohol, people were worse at memory tasks, but better at creative problem-solving

4. Under the pale moonlight Stay up late or get up early — but, either way, get tired. Researcher Mareike Wieth at Albion College found that college students were more likely to solve outside-the-box thinking puzzles during time periods when they were less able to focus mentally.

 However, your couch at home becomes too tempting and your office at work becomes too mundane when faced with lack of sleep. Try a late night eatery, early morning coffee house or even the local 24-hour gym.

5. (Virtually) blow your mind. As great as getting out sounds, it’s not always a reality. But, sometimes the right website can provide inspiration that, while not physically, takes you mentally elsewhere. Three of my personal favorites are Colossal, Visual News and Twisted Sifter.

You now have the rationale and proof-points for getting outside your office. So pass this article along already and get outside!

1 comment about "Get Out Of The Office! (Your Creativity Depends On It)".
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  1. Kyle Nelson from Cinsay, May 24, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.

    +1 to all of these ideas. If you have a company that depends on creativity (and even if you don't!), these tips are great! And, it's not just for creatives--at the Cinsay office, when we get the folks over in accounting to come out for some fresh air, they come up with creative solutions related to their field too! And not to mention the added benefit of adding to team morale and positive company culture!

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