Unplugged Part 3: Inspiration is all around us

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Unplugged Part 3: Inspiration is all around us

In our third instalment of our ‘Unplugged’ series, we explore some of the benefits of making sure you’ve taken that time to step away from your emails, smartphone and other technological distractions, and the benefits that this can bring. 

When anyone talks of ‘thinking creatively’, we might picture a group of executives in a boardroom brainstorming. But it’s not just about the ‘big product idea’. The level and application of our personal creativity comes in a myriad of shapes and sizes; it generates the solutions to continuously improve our behaviours, our actions, and sometimes how we just fix something.

Modern life however,  is not well set-up to encourage creative thinking; work-life and social media make many perceived demands on our time, with endless calls of “can you just…?”, notifications shouting “so-and-so commented on your post…”  and feeling the need to fan the flames with your own comments. The effect of these ‘demands’ (we should ask ourselves whether they are real or not) is contributing to a somewhat unnecessary cluttering of the mind, for most of our waking hours. We may often self-justify that we are in fact ‘multi-tasking’, however this approach – it has been argued – is really akin to rapidly flicking between thoughts. Sounds exhausting, and ineffective!

Why not give the following a try, to help get your creative juices flowing. Utilise a short period (say around 15 minutes) during your daily commute on the bus or train, or when you head out to grab a coffee or a sandwich. Disengage from work emails and social media. Then simply look around you at architecture, people and advertising. Let your mind wander a bit.  It’s amazing what you can see if you really look, and this can inspire by helping you to cross-fertilise ideas.

For example: businesses collectively spend billions of pounds annually on advertising, marketing and design, which are ubiquitous in our environment.  By observing the world and thinking about what you are seeing, you create the potential to utilise the thinking horsepower of untold creative minds.  You may then be able to adapt what you see to something you are working on in a totally different (and what you thought of as a previously unrelated) space. There is no greater compliment than a bit of imitation!

By trying this you are not constraining your thoughts to the parameters imposed upon you by your mobile device, or having your attention pulled in several directions at once. You can justify this to yourself in that you’re actually utilising your time efficiently; getting to and from work, whilst engaging in a creative endeavour!  Could this actually be true ‘multi-tasking’? Start small, give it a go and see where it leads…

From guest-writer Stephen Sharpen.

Stephen is a leading exponent for equipping people at all organisational levels with the tools, techniques and insight, to deliver effective and sustainable transformational change. Until recently he led the development of multi-functional business plans, the optimisation of people capability and capital investment, and the delivery of major change programmes for a FTSE-listed company.

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