Thank you, thank you, thank you to Emma Seppälä, Science Director at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, for writing this amazing article on the importance of relaxation when generating breakthrough ideas!
I totally understand that you are ‘busy’ but if you have come this far in reading this blog post, please keep going and read the article linked above. I am confident you will enjoy it and find it valuable.
‘Unfocus’ your mind to discover great ideas
Seppälä writes, “Simply put, creativity happens when your mind is unfocused, daydreaming or idle. (This is why we have so many ‘aha’ moments in the shower.)” It also explains why we wake up in the middle of the night with great ideas!
The process of divergent thinking followed by convergent thinking is pivotal when doing any sort of creative thinking or brainstorming.
First you must ‘unfocus’ your mind by having some fun, laughing, walking, or playing (all without being connected to any electronics whatsoever). Scrolling through Facebook posts, or playing electronic games does not count as idle time for your brain!
Only after a minimum of 45 minutes of ‘unfocused’ time should you then turn to focusing on the task at hand.
I recently received a call from a client who asked me to facilitate a brainstorming session for her team… But she asked that we ‘not waste any time doing those silly games and creative exercises you like to do’.
I had to decline.
I explained that no one in the history of brainstorming has ever come up with a new, breakthrough idea by sitting in a boardroom reading and rereading a brief.
“But we don’t have time for that…” is the most common thing I hear!
In fact, the opposite is true. If you are going to ask a group of people to give up their time to generate ideas, you had better be confident that you will come away with some great ideas rather than have your guests feeling as if they have wasted their time.
Great ideas are possible in one hour providing you have a process to ‘unfocus’ and then refocus the brain.
‘Unfocus’ your mind and boost brainstorming with these four tips
In her article, Seppälä suggests four things you can easily do to boost your creativity by giving your brain some idle time:
- Take a walk
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Make more time for fun and games
- Alternate between doing focused work and activities that are less intellectually demanding
The fun and games is my personal favourite!
Work with an experienced brainstorming facilitator
Do you need a hand when it comes to getting ‘unfocused’? Get in touch with Barefoot Brainstorming today.