According to Karen Duncum, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, one of the most effective ways to innovate is ignoring the usual routine, putting your feet up and doing nothing.
Duncum, a management consultant, says: "I routinely advise my clients to unplug by taking a drive to a park, the ocean, or into the country with only a blank pad of paper and pen. The intellect at rest can turn into an inspiration incubator, but we have to learn how to give it time off and then listen to it."
With that in mind, she shares some tips and tricks used by executives to "clear their minds and open up the neural pathways for breakthrough thinking".
Once you set some time aside, you should create a "private, contemplative space". Duncum suggests experimenting with varying locations, times of day – "and even your current energy level and mood".
So you've arranged the time and place – what next? Duncum recommends taking a pastime you enjoy and incorporating it into the "playground equipment of your business mind". She says: "With regular use and practice, it may turn into your own idea factory."
However, simple daydreaming might do the trick – the author insists that the mind's tendency to wander is in fact crucial to creative thought processes.
Recording your thoughts, rather than writing them down, can be useful in letting your ideas flow.
The final step is to transform any useful ideas you have into practical solutions. Duncum says: "Your conscious mind can place your insights into the context of your work and personal objectives."
She adds: "Make the analysis and execution of the bounty you reap a necessary and natural outcome of your explorations into your inner ingenuity."