How Taking a Trip Gets New Ideas On Track

Need another excuse for a little R&R? Boost your creativity by getting away from it all. The most creative, innovative executives take leisure travel on purpose. And that purpose is not just for R&R, it’s for I&R – innovation and re-creation! They know that travel can induce brain activity in the form of theta waves.

OK, they may not know much about “theta waves,” but they do know that whatever the wave, so many of their most excellent ideas ride them. These waves enable connections between formerly disparate ideas. In a theta state, brain cells never before connected find each other for the first time, and voilá, or Eureka! A new idea is born…no surfing required.

Long ago Gutenberg was printing with the moveable tin-type he invented. When faced with a request to print an inordinate amount of Bibles in a truncated amount of time…he traveled. He took a trip into town to the local wine festival. While sipping the local Riesling he pondered the wine press across the street. Eureka! From the wine press to the printing press, the famous Gutenberg Bible was the innovative result.

Traveling is a natural way to induce Theta waves in your brain, but you must step outside of your normal day-to-day experiences. If you work in the sports industry it’s not about attending another game in a different state. Slightly different, but too familiar, does not help you shift your perspective and make new neural connections. You can keep sports on your travel agenda, but the goal is to step outside your day-to-day, experience new stimuli and get sparked into your own Eureka! Zip-line through a forest, hike or bike through a foreign country, play a curious new game the locals teach you.

If you are in the food industry, instead of traveling for just the culinary delights on the white linen table before you, visit the markets behind the scenes; take an expedition out to sea to the origins of your fish dish du jour; visit the shop that weaves your linens, the winery that produces your port or the chocolatier who produces your pièce de résistance.

Better yet, if you’re in the sports industry, experience the food excursion; if in the food industry, dive into an outdoor adventure. Stop, look around and ask yourself: ‘What came together to create this picture? What ideas found each other to spark what I’m experiencing? How does what I’m seeing parallel, reflect, extend or re-invent my world? What best practices in these different arenas can create a unique and novel best practice in my arena?’

Executives feeling guilty about getting away can tell themselves their next trip may just spark their most profitable idea to date.  Now that’s a Eureka moment!

AmyK Hutchens serves as an Intelligence Activist and business strategist to leaders around the globe. She is on Twitter @AmyKinc or visit

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