Friday, 1 August 2008

Where ideas may occur has an article on where & when the best ideas happen here - Can you spot the number of places that actually include being in your place of work?

Commuting to & from work
Daydreaming at work
Doing anything mindless
Doing nothing
Doing something that feeds your soul
Early in the morning
Hanging out with friends
Having fun
In the bathroom
In the kitchen
Joking with friends
Late at night
On the toilet
Organizing things
Reading books outside your field
Surfing the internet
Taking a break
When you least expect it

There are a lot of examples given related to exercise, during/post, but suprisingly little along the lines of "at a cubicle, under pressure". As the poll mentions, "exertion and stress are associated with coercion and motivation more than they are with inspiration".

The pdf is here
The headings, which infer some of the more interesting findings:
Top 35 catalysts
Social vs. Solitary Innovation and Mind States
Mind states
Motion & stillness
Time of day

Most organizations still fail to see the productive value of such “down time.” In the name of ”getting the job done,” they produce more overload and stress than is healthy for a culture of innovation. The obsessive pursuit of efficiency is often framed, spun, and sold as “innovation.” We think this is a misrepresentation. Great ideas do not issue from efficiency tweaks. A constant drum roll of incremental quality improvement can be another way to keep workers heads down. It rarely spurs the creation of truly imaginative and disruptive ideas, or leads to next generation products.

It's quite damning, when you look at what most companies provide or expect, versus the representation of states conducive to ideas through the poll

- In terms of how to get ideas (brain storming as a group/pairing)
- When/where getting ideas (daydreaming, out of normal work hours/locations)

Just looking at the top 10 ranked catalysts for best ideas gives some more thoughts for business:

happy, inspired, immersed,
collaborating, brainstorming, analysing the problem, daydreaming,
reading, driving & commuting.

Sound like your group meetings/workplace? For ideas in the company idea box, the above helps.

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