Gathering together several studies and author insights, Fast Company has published an article that's all about the things you can do to boost your creativity. And hey, in this business, the more creativity the better, right? Some of this stuff may seem obvious -- but the reasons why, not so much.
First up, take a bath. That's right. Hop in the tub. Research on the nature of flotation has shown that college students who were set afloat in a chamber filled with salt water displayed increased creative scores. And as we all know, staring at the ocean or a lake or listening to the waves crash on the rocks does, indeed, get the mind moving in a more creative direction. Or at least in a direction more compatible with pondering the important and not-so-important things in life.
Next, shut up and observe. No, really -- shut your trap, stop posting your political opinions on Facebook and simply listen. Stanford Professor Tina Seelig says observing and paying attention to the little things, the details, the often overlooked can fuel creative thought. She frequently sends her students out to malls and coffee shops simply to observe the little stuff. Of this exercise, she says: "We put together a detailed lab for them: Is the door open or shut? What is the font of the store’s name? How long does it take for someone to come and greet you? How high are the ceilings? What are the floors made of? What's the soundtrack? What does it smell like? Observe the world with really acute focus."
Speaking of coffee shops, working within (not, you know, for the coffee shop, but in the coffee shop with your laptop, iPad, notebook, etc,) a coffee shop is another way to aid creativity and brainstorming. It has been determined by researchers at the University of British Columbia that the perfect noise level of about 70 decibels -- that of a coffee shop and its background noise -- is the perfect environment in which to work creatively. Of this notion, the study says: "Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one's comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas."
And finally, walking has been shown by researchers at Stanford that simply taking a walk boosts creativity. The study took a look at four situations -- walking on a treadmill, sitting inside facing a wall, walking outside and sitting indoors -- and determined that walking led to more "divergent" thinking. One of the studies’ authors, Marily Oppezzo, said: "Many people anecdotally claim they do their best thinking when walking. We finally may be taking a step, or two, toward discovering why. We’re not saying walking can turn you into Michelangelo, but it could help you at the beginning stages of creativity."