To Be More Creative, Hang Out With Creative People


by Susan Robertson

Susan Robertson is an Innovation Process Facilitator and VP of Business Development at the innovation agency Ideas To Go. This article is reprinted with permission from her blog.

Mindcamp XIn 2012, I had the pleasure—the joy, really—of attending Mindcamp. It is a 4-day creativity fest held near Toronto. Along with CPSI, CREA, and other creative problem-solving conferences, it focuses on using structured creative thinking to solve real problems.

On the surface, it’s a professional conference where you can learn real tools and techniques to infuse creativity and innovation into your work and your life. But I find it’s as much about personal growth and reflection as it is about work. It seems to be the case for most people who go.

The attendees are a diverse community of bright, caring, supportive, open-minded people who are generous with their time, their learning, and their attention. It’s also a bunch of people with big brains and humble attitudes. We had a neuroscientist, a rocket scientist, a dermatologist, a famous new-age pianist, a PhD who researches intelligence and mind development, a workplace diversity specialist, a sensory scientist, and a host of educators, creativity consultants, artists, humorists, authors, students, and businesspeople — just to name a few.

I was struck by how simply spending time with people in a variety of other creative endeavors re-sparked my own creative juices. I found myself being more curious, more open, more optimistic, more interested and more interesting–all as a result of nothing more than talking with people doing interesting things.

One of the basic tenets of creative thinking is to do things differently, and to do different things. So if you need to reignite your creative thinking, do something completely new. An acquaintance of mine recently attended a conference on green energy, even though he has no expertise in that area. His account of all the interesting things he learned and fascinating people he met reminded me that simply broadening your horizons will also broaden your mind.

So try something new today.

robertson_susSusan Robertson is an Innovation Process Facilitator and VP of Business Development at the innovation agency Ideas To Go. She attended Mindcamp for the first time in 2011, returned in 2012, and we look forward to welcoming her back this year.