1. Go for a walk.  Go alone or with somebody you enjoy.  Notice the beauty in the surroundings.  Think about what you hear from nature.  Become immersed while shutting out all the usual distractions as much as possible, whatever that means to you. 
  2. Listen to the “right” music.  When I listen to Enya in a quiet, private place, tension disappates, my creative juices seem to ooze out and creative, innovative ideas frequently start to flow.  If you take time, you’ll find music that will work for you. 
  3. Go golfing.  Go with friends, but not necessarily business associates, in fact, probably not.  This one is included for those of you who must be doing something when you’re doing something else.
  4. Write a short story.  A very short story.  Pick a subject like:  “A street urchin was approached by a woman dressed in white.  What did she say?  Why was she there?”  But you’ll have to choose another subject.  I’ve already done the one about the street urchin.  When you write your story, isolate yourself from the world in a way that works for you.  Take only 30 munutes or so.  Listening to music might help.  If you’ve already tried writing a story, I recommend that you do it again.  It only gets better. 
  5. Invent something.  Be bold. Come up with something that will revolutionize your industry; your world; or the whole world.  Take only 30 minutes.  Conceive of it.  Design it—draw it.  Keep doing this one from time to time and who knows how your life may change. 
  6. Become an artist.  If this sounds impossible read Betty Edwards book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and do the exercises.  This took me about 30 hours and has changed my perception of my gifts, talents and abilities.  She provides a portfolio of art materials through her website, www.drawright.com.  She promised that anyone can draw.  I knew she was wrong.  She was right!  I can draw.  Anyone can learn.  I also learned that as I draw, my creative, innovative side is more active in many other parts of my life.
  7. Shut out the static in your life.  Not forever, that won’t work, but at least do it for a set period like an hour or longer.  You can make it happen. The rules are simple.  No phones, no emails, no interruptions.  During this welcome break do something creative.  If you can’t think of anything, check out the other items on this list.  Maybe you’ll find something on the list, or maybe it will help you think of something else.  In any event, if you do this regularly, creative ideas will begin to emerge.
  8. Take a nap.  If you have courage, do this during the middle of the day.  At work, if you can get away with it.  There are numerous pictures of Thomas Edison sleeping during the work day.  In some of these, he’s on a small bed in an alcove in his large office where he often slipped away for a quick rest.  His wife Myna provided the bed because she didn’t like the pictures of him sleeping on a bench.  Remember, though, he owned the company, so he could do what he wanted.  You may have to pick your times and places more carefully.  When you wake up, write down some of your immediate thoughts.  You’ll often find some great creative solutions to current problems.
  9. Find relaxing activities at the end of the day.  When you’re winding down just before bed time, read a good book, listen to relaxing music or other more gentle evening activities.  In doing so, you’ll be more likely to find creative solutions to problems while you’re sleeping.  If you wake up in the night with a good idea, write it down before you go back to sleep.  Frequently the idea will be a very good one; but sometimes it will seem like gibberish when you read it in the morning. 
  10. Attend the Thomas Edison and Innovation Event.  It’s presented by Norwell Consulting at the Pleasantdale Chateau and Edison Historic Laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey. 

This Blog was originally posted May 4, 2010

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