Zoe Aitken25 January 2018

Want to be more creative? Go on holidays!

How good is an overseas holiday?! Personally, I find there’s something so completely life-affirming and enlivening about immersing myself in a new culture; exploring new architecture, food and landscapes and seeing first-hand how other people live in different parts of the world. Maybe I’m just nosey, but I’m always fascinated to engross myself in a different way of life and to learn about new people and cultures.

As it turns out, there is also a highly-beneficial side-effect to travel that relates to innovation. But before I tell you what it is, let me give you a bit of background around how creative or innovative ideas are formed….

Essentially, a creative idea happens when two disparate or unrelated thoughts connect together in our minds to create a new idea. Therefore, when it comes to creativity, research has shown that exposing ourselves to a wide amount of information increases our ability to generate creative solutions. Essentially the more diverse information that we absorb, the more potential connection points that we have in our minds for creative ideas to form.

So what does this have to do with travel?

Basically travel, and being exposed to new cultures, expands our mental library and broadens our minds. This was supported by a study that compared a group of students who had lived overseas to those who hadn’t and evaluated them on different aspects of creativity. The study found that those who had experienced a different culture provided more evidence of creativity.

This builds on our thinking at Inventium, as we’re already huge believers of ‘going wide’ and exposing ourselves to a diverse set of experiences and information. We also try to encourage our clients to do the same. We often see that as people progress in their careers and become an expert in a particular area, they typically go deeper into learning about their area of expertise. While this is important for career progression, it’s sometimes at the detriment of breadth of knowledge, which essentially means that there are less and less diverse connection points to draw on for creative thinking.

So how can you capitalise on this learning and improve your chances of coming up with brilliant and creative ideas?

  • First and foremost, book yourself an overseas holiday which takes you somewhere new. (Not bad homework if you ask me!)
  • If an overseas holiday isn’t feasible for you right now, then perhaps start to broaden your reading. Pick up a magazine on a subject that you know little about. Fly Fishing perhaps?
  • Listen to something new. Try out a new podcast or listen to a TED talk on something weird and wonderful but completely unrelated to your area of expertise.
  • Speak to someone new, maybe your next Uber driver? Learn about their life stories and perspective on the world.

Our advice at Inventium is to make a habit of broadening your knowledge so that you’re not only an expert in your field, but that you also have a breadth of information to draw on to maximise your creative thinking.

So get online and start planning your next overseas holiday!


Want to become a better innovator?

We’ve created a report that explains the six innovation mistakes almost every organisation makes.

Avoid those mistakes by reading this!