The more I read about innovation and creativity, the more I feel like I need to stop reading about innovation and creativity.
Too many of the stories about people who are big, bold, creative thinkers don’t involve them being experts on innovation. They are experts, for sure, but they don’t know everything there is to know about how to have big ideas. They spend time reading a broad range of topics, they spend a lot of time noticing the world around them, and they spend a lot of time just thinking.
Read about a lot of different things. Focus on education over entertainment.
Notice your world. Really pay attention to the details in the everyday.
Stop reading and noticing and sit and think.
Most of the books I’ve read on being innovative or creative or having original ideas have included these basic concepts, if not labeled so succinctly.
So how do we do this?
Reading is the easiest. You don’t really need an action plan for reading – just pick some interesting books and get started. Although you may need an action plan for making the time to read. I would argue, however, you don’t really need a plan – you need will power. (Here are 15 ways to find extra time in your day – they all involve not doing other things instead.)
Noticing the world around you seems easy, but how many times have you driven to or from work and not remembered the trip. You were on autopilot. It’s a wonder there aren’t more car accidents, really. We spend a lot of our time each day on autopilot. You see the roses, but you need an action plan to stop and smell them.
Thinking requires a combination of making the time for it and having a plan to do it productively.
To be a bigger, better, more creative thinker you need: Time (or maybe just willpower) and an actionable plan to notice and think.
Sounds fairly simple, right? But we all know it isn’t.
I don’t have answers for you right now, but I’m on a mission to find them.
Stay tuned for more on how to implement some innovation every day.