Innovation Inspiration #023—Bathtubs, Beer, and Brainstorming

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San Francisco PechaKucha Night
San Francisco IxDA


Want to innovate? Then relax. Continuously.

Deep innovation is a lifestyle, not a task.

Most, but not all, things you can do to relax will help the process.

A soak in a hot tub, however brief, is one of my key tools.

It’s about more than the hot water, though. I turn out the lights, leaving a night light on, to get halfway to a sensory deprivation chamber. And then I relax, and let all my worries disappear for a bit, and start thinking about things on the periphery of what I want to create. You must relax completely, so that the neurons can enjoy freedom from stress.

A good pint helps, too, for the same reason. (Actually, Martinis and red wine work better for me, but they lack the alliteration, and liquor is another post, anyway.)

Don’t rush it. If it’s the weekend and you’ve got time, soak until you’re wrinkled.

If it’s a Monday morning and you have to be on the road by 6:42 to avoid stress-creating and time-wasting traffic, spend just a few minutes, or until you’ve had one good idea.

This morning, a couple inches of hot water and perhaps seven minutes led me to a key concept that I think will set me on the right track for the rest of the day.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to spend some quality time with a whiteboard.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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