Want To Innovate? Science Says, “Be Spontaneous”



People think too much to be spontaneous, which leads to
paralysis by analysis, but innovators think spontaneously and
even impulsively.

Innovators exhibit
the persistent attitude
, but they balance their focus and
mental persistence with the spontaneous attitude, which gives
them the ability to think flexibly. The spontaneous attitude,
one of the 27 characteristics found in all innovators, is being
flexible and immediately acting on new ideas and/or
opportunities. It is common for people to over-think or
over-analyze a situation or a problem, but this inhibits their
ability to come up with a solution or an action. Innovators
have shown to think spontaneously, which makes their
decision-making processes flexible and chaotic. Innovators
prefer to lead a more spontaneous lifestyle than a stable path.
They are not self-conscious about their thoughts, which enables
them to think randomly and subconsciously.  Innovators do
not give much thought to practicality, which helps them
generate unique ideas.

Ideas that are unique but not useful are considered irrelevant
or crazy, thus they require critical thinking that consists of
analysis and evaluation. However, generating and evaluating
ideas at the same time is like driving with one foot on the
brake and the other on the accelerator.  Innovators
balance spontaneity with persistence to generate and evaluate
ideas.  After spontaneously generating many ideas, they
work on other simple work; take a break; relax; or
, which often leads to unique ideas. Later when
they return to the ideas they generated, they critically and
persistently analyze and evaluate them for usefulness.

Then, how can you nurture your spontaneous

First, discover what is keeping you from living
spontaneously, and remove it from your life by:

  • Finding predictable behavior by making a list of your daily
    routines to determine whether you:

    • Do things in the same order
    • Take the same route to work every day
    • Talk to the same people every day
    • Order the same drink or meal at a restaurant

Second, shake up your routine

  • Not over-planning or over-scheduling your life
  • Making an immediate plan and going through with it, instead
    of talking about it
  • Experimenting with new ways of doing things
  • Changing something around you
  • Standing up, sitting less, and moving more
  • Leaving a choice up to chance by flipping a coin or rolling
    a dice
  • Breaking a plan for a more exciting one
  • Getting someone to be spontaneous with you
  • Not letting others make your decisions for you
  • Not getting hung up on small decisions
  • Not setting expectations for yourself
  • Following your heart and not logic
  • Disconnecting from technology for 24 hours and keeping the
    day open for anything

Third, be unpredictable and keep others guessing. 
For example:

  • Participate in activities that will lead to an exciting
    story that can be shared with others
  • Be expressive and add drama to a situation
  • Act on your thoughts or ideas, instead of just thinking
    about them, and improvise
  • Experiment with different styles or colors than you
    regularly purchase or make
  • Draw or color to express your feelings
  • Trim bushes into new shapes
  • Learn or use a different accent
  • Wear something unconventional or ridiculous
  • Make or play musical instruments
  • Take a walk without a destination, or explore a place
    you’ve never been
  • Try a new route or method of travel—a scenic route and/or
    public transportation or bicycle
  • See a movie without seeing the trailer
  • Give a random stranger a compliment
  • Meet new friends by
    • Going to a party without knowing anyone
    • Going to a concert alone
    • Spending time with different kinds of people,
      especially older adults
    • Reconnecting with old friends or people from your past
  • Be unexpectedly romantic to your significant other by
    • Giving him/her something special
    • Telling how much he/she means to you
    • Going somewhere scenic and/or making a new memory
    • Expressing affection or intimacy in an unexpected time,
      way, or place

Finally, spice up your life by trying something

  • Cook a new recipe or use ingredients you’ve never heard of
  • Try different or exotic restaurants
  • Order the waiter’s favorite dish
  • Try a new hobby, activity, class, or exercise you’ve never
    done before
  • Join a book club
  • Go to a local play, a flea market, or a farmer’s market
  • Do things you don’t usually do or you dislike
  • Do something that scares or intimidates you
  • Do something you loved to do as a child
  • Do something you’ve always wanted to try
  • Travel without a plan by:
    • Letting serendipity rule the day
    • Doing or trying things as you go

Find more research findings about how to innovate in

The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American
, and follow Dr. Kim @Kreativity_Kim

Tags: art, creativity, education, innovation, kh
, psychology

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