Monday, November 14, 2016

Disrupt Your Routine to Ignite Creativity

Blythe Harris, Stella and Dot's cofounder and chief creative officer, shared a few tips for stimulating creativity with Fast Company's Elizabeth Segran. For instance, Harris suggested that people should purposefully disrupt their usual routine on occasion.   They need to seek inspiration by learning and seeing new things, meeting different types of people, and exploring domains where they have little expertise.  Here is an excerpt: 

"Harris believes strongly in taking inspiration trips. She was just in Chile, learning about local artisans. She's created entire collections after particularly inspiring trips to India and France. To this end, Stella & Dot invests heavily in sending Harris and other designers to foreign countries.  But you don't have to spend a lot of money to see things you wouldn't ordinarily see. An important part of this process is learning new things. So Harris also encourages her team to take classes in new fields. For instance, architecture has been particularly helpful to members of the design team. "If you don't have the budget to travel, you can disrupt your routine by going to work a different way, go to a new restaurant, or find ways to meet new people," Harris says. "When you disrupt your thinking like that, it actually slows down time, and you start to be able to take in all your creative inputs differently."

I concur wholeheartedly with Harris' recommendation. In fact, neuroscience supports this suggestion. Research shows that "pure novelty spurs the brain." Specifically, the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area of the brain has a substantial impact on learning. According to Science Daily, "Researchers Nico Bunzeck and Emrah Düzel report studies with humans showing that the substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area of the brain does respond to novelty as such, and this novelty motivates the brain to explore, seeking a reward."

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