Businesses and entrepreneurs live and die on the strength of their creative and innovative strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, many of them get caught inside the company and industry bubbles, leaving their flanks open for unexpected innovation from competitors. Don’t get trapped inside the repetitive, same-old-same-old of old ideas and assumptions. Escape your bubble with these six methods and keep yourself moving forward with your full creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial potential.
1) Start Learning a New Skill
One of the easiest ways to get out of your bubble is learning a new skill. The skill itself doesn’t matter all that much. Just taking in more information will give you new ways of thinking about the world and new places to find creative connections.
Learning a new language helps you think with different patterns. Learning a new programming method or management approach or public speaking formula, whether you need it or not, will still teach you new things that could spark inspiration elsewhere. Even taking a cooking class can give you further analogies for your work, never mind the people you’ll meet with different experiences that can break you from your habits.
2) Talk to People Outside Your Routine
If the only people you talk to every day are your coworkers, colleagues, and family, you’re never getting new perspectives. Every conversation repeats the same information over and over again, letting your opinions harden and stagnate. But a simple conversation with someone new, someone with different experiences, can give you new ways to think about the world.
Casual conversations are a good start. Be open and ask people questions. See how people do things differently in different fields and ask why they are different. Dig into how they think, and if you find some interesting connections, expand on them by asking people how they would approach a problem. Even if they don’t have a good solution, their differing opinion will add to your information bank to combine into new creative and innovative ideas.
3) Try Combining Incompatible Ideas
One of the more interesting ways to push creative ideas is to crunch two apparently incompatible or contradictory ideas together, trying to find how they could work together, or link them in round-about ways. Many fields and industries have battled over proper approaches and methods, with some companies swearing by one, and some swearing by another. For instance, is the stock market efficient and ultimately random, making it almost impossible to beat, or are there all sorts of value stocks just waiting for someone to find them? Perhaps a more creative solution can be found by combining the two ideas.
4) Get off the Internet
Even with its enormous wealth of information, the internet is itself something of a bubble, or at least an echo chamber. Because it is easier to repeat information found elsewhere online than to do proper offline research, a lot of information online is traceable to the same limited sources.
Look beyond the internet’s business and entrepreneurial bubbles to the in-depth knowledge of libraries, archives, and real-world experience. The internet is full of information, but your competitors can access all of it too. Get a creative leg up over the competition by finding information that rare and unique.
5) Go Somewhere New
Like the internet bubble, the bubble of your daily routine traps you with the same repeated information over and over again. Get out and see more of the world, even if it’s just a walk through a different neighborhood in your city or area. You might see people doing something in a way that sparks your imagination for creative solutions. You might find a problem to which you can provide a solution. Even if you see nothing consequential, the time away from your work will give your mind some time to daydream and create new connections subconsciously.
6) Go Back to Basics
If you’ve worked in your industry for a long time, you can lose perspective on why you do things the way you do. If you’re feeling unusually stagnant in your innovative capabilities, take some time to go back the basics of your industry. You will find things that you’d long since forgotten, or that you didn’t feel the need to remember, and even the basics of your field may have changed since you initially learned them. Combined with your wealth of experience those new basics might form something wholly new.
No matter what way you use to spark your creative and innovative energies, remember that the key is to find new information that you can combine with what you already know in your particular way to create something only you can create. Look for exciting ideas in everything.
Even seemingly disparate ideas in the most unrelated fields can offer something if you spend time trying to see how they fit together. The search for new information, and then finding ways to apply that knowledge, can help light the sparks that break you out of your stale creativity bubble.