While reading The Opposable Mind from my last post, it got me to thinking about the time, space, imagination and deep thinking required to innovate and develop solutions to the challenges presented to us on a continuous basis.
We all seem to be so pressed for time and filtering through a barrage of information. Taking time to actually read a full book and ponder its pages or allow ourselves more than a moment for creative exploratory, hands-on application or self-reflection can feel like an indulgence.
Not surprisingly, this is partly due to our relationship with time, space and our use of technology. The changes taking place in the world are new to us and we are feeling the rapid growth of our progress as we work to adapt. Some people who I have spoken with have expressed a concern that we are moving backwards and "losing our minds" and creative capacities.
I’d hate to think that that we have no choice and are being pulled into some sort of abyss in shackles. We are human beings who have the ability to think for ourselves, evolve and make some personal adjustments where needed. Now seems like the perfect time to assess our situation and make some course corrections if we feel it is necessary.
Richard Watson writes about this in,
Future Minds: How the Digital Age Is Changing our Minds, Why This Matters and What We Can Do About It
Divided into three sections, Richard Watson writes about some tough challenges presented by our new screen culture and provides some staggering numbers showing its growth. He provokes us to think about the importance of deep thinking and the impact it has on our minds and creativity. The book includes chapters like “Thinking About Thinking,” “The Sex Life of Ideas” and “Thinking Spaces” just to name a few. He ends each chapter with ways to open our minds and foster an environment to stimulate thought and creativity. Here's a quick snapshot, take a look -
Change and Curiosity in the Digital Age
I must say that with that, the digital age affords us some really great opportunities to learn, explore and collaborate with a community of people who we wouldn't have had access to in the past. This is why I am an advocate for blended learning environments.
In the video below, John Seely Brown speaks to embracing change, "curiosity amplifiers" and the opportunity that the internet actually provides. He also speaks to how technology keeps us "above" the situation, as opposed to "in" the situation, which is something that is very important to pay attention to. He has another video on the importance of tinkering and the power of art, engagement and being connected to things around us.
Time, Space and Creativity
There is a proliferation of content being written on the subject of time, space and creativity along with how some people and businesses are responding to our new landscape. Here are some articles that you might find interesting,
- This Space Intentionally Left White
- Creating Time to Innovate
- What To Do When You Have Time to Think
- Survey Shows “Workations” Replacing Vacations For Many
- Innovation Requires More Than Quirky Office Space
- Designs to Make You Work Harder
- Design in the Workplace
- Who Moved My Cube?
Finding The Right Balance
Anyone who knows me knows the three-headed beast that lingers within ha-ha.
On the one hand, I am addicted to the digital space and love technology for all that it has to offer. I am a naturally curious person and a perpetual student, so having this kind of access accompanied by functionality is incredible (both as a business professional as well as a consumer). Admittedly there are times when it can be hard for me to disconnect.
On the other hand, I find it very important to set aside time to disconnect and think. My partner Jeff jokes with me sometimes when he walks in the door to find me lying on the couch staring at the ceiling in silence. “What are your doing?” He asks with a chuckle. “Just thinking,” I say. In Creative Words for Inspiration, I wrote about some personal examples of ways to break away, find new space, play and disconnect. It does wonders for the mind (and spirit).
And then there is the absolute necessity to collaborate with people to bring richness to each other's ideas if we are going to build upon them to make them the best that they can be as well as a reality (this goes back to Sir Harold Evans's talk on innovation).
We are working through an interesting time, so it’s the balance that so many of us are working to figure out.
Make Time, Find Your Space, Free Your Mind & Disconnect
Is the internet or technology destroying our brains? I am not a scientist, but I can't imagine that happening...only if we allow it to. Finding our balance and ways to nurture our minds, imagination and creativity is up to us.
How you do that is up to you and only you know what will work. Richard Watson offers his top ten ways to encourage deep thinking in the last section of his book mentioned above that I think are perfect. They are,
- Create time and space
- Become intellectually curious
- Keep an ideas diary
- Retain and open mind
- Use the bathroom
- Be patient
- Lose your inhibitions
- Embrace failure
- Share the problem
- Don't go to work
We are experiencing opposing forces that pushes us to move faster at the exact same time we need to be even more inventive which requires us to slow down, take a step back and look at the big picture. I am not saying stop…I am just saying slow down.
Working quickly to meet the demands of our businesses today, while finding the time to think, refresh, plan and create for today and tomorrow - Tough balance, but critical.
PS. In addition to the the authors mentioned above, I must mention John Hagel as a source of great inspiration and information as I found a few links included above through reading his work and shared content. I have never met him, but follow him in some social networks and have been influenced by The Power of Pull that I have written about in the past and highly recommend.