You know now how Jobs connected dots to create original combination of not obviously related domains. You know when and how you lost this skill during education time and later when you found job where your boss paid you for being uncreative …

Now it’s time to to practice and retrieve your creative way of thinking!

Clothes shopping with wife

Recently we’ve decided with my wife to spend whole afternoon on cloths shopping. For me this means 4-5 hours of walking from store to store, assisting my wife caring shopping bags and clothes she wants to try, providing opinion or waiting when she is in changing room …
Could this impact positively my creativity?
Of course yes! What do I do?
I’m using, especially the waiting time, to observe stores, people and gain new inspiration from the environment I’m not used to visit too often. Let’s call it “cloths shop thinking-box”. I’m taking this opportunity also to practice ability to create new combinations.

What kind of idea come up to my mind while waiting for my wife in one of stores?
Behind the counter I saw nice, silver quilted wall and next to the counter stand steam iron. I connected this picture with fashion photography studio and asked myself wouldn’t be great to combine them:

Fashion photography studio + clothes shop = …

What could come up out of this combination?

Clothes shop where professional photographer can take picture of you in your new dress and make you feel like a famous model, share it on Instagram etc.. Would this make impression on customers and distinguish this store? Would this make female customers buy again something in this store and attract more new customers?

Don’t dig deeper in-box, be open for random inspirations around you

As you notices new connections can change the direction of your thinking and be spark for a new idea. Keep your mind open and look for inspirations are happening around you.
Looking so narrow you are thinking in box of this problem. The more you focused on it the deeper in box you are and lose everything what is going around. It’s like you are driving very fast or riding motorbike on high way. You only focus on what is in front of you, the road become more and more narrow, you don’t have time to take a look on left and right to see the landscape you’re just passing.
How many new inspirations you can find in your box (the single you are specialized)? You already explored it and there is almost no space you did not check. In-box-thinking can lead to marginal improvements in scope of already explored area of knowledge.

So where to look for new inspirations and breakthrough ideas? Of course in other boxes. By other boxes I mean different than your areas of knowledge, science, art, know how, even different objects than you usually use and places you visit (shopping with your wife☺).
Combining inspirations from different, not really obviously related areas (boxes) with your box you can build completely new value.
So by the most original ideas are not created just in one box, but by finding new connections and inspirations between not really related boxes.

As an exercise think on how to creatively combine following pairs of “boxes”

Fashion magazine + scuba diving
Viking Helmet + wallet
Italian restaurant + digital camera

… wherever you will have free while (traffic jam, waiting in line, waiting on airport…) look around you, find two or more objects and try in your mind to combine them creatively

You can find more exercises like the one above in book Creative Tinkering by Michael MIchalko, world class expert on creative thinking

In next article you will learn proven creative technique that will help you both practice out-of-box thinking and easily create very original ideas. You will be able to apply this new thinking to your life to become creative thinker and achieve breakthrough results.