Why Travel Sparks Business Innovation
© Pat Morgan
Three innovative executives reflect on how travel fuels their creativity.
We get on a plane for business because we must. We need to get in front of a prospective client. We’re called cross-country to iron out an employee situation. We’re required to be at the board meeting. But when all the stressors and annoyances of business travel are put aside, being in a new city, a new country, lends something of its own. Gone are the sights and sounds of business as usual. Instead, new eyes see the world—and work—differently. Executive Travel asks three executives to reflect on how they use travel to fuel creativity in their businesses.
Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels
Peter Shankman is vice president and small business evangelist at Vocus
Byron Reese is executive vice president of innovation at Demand Media
At the Corner of Travel and Innovation
These resources, quotes and studies can be just the ticket to fuel your next big idea or send you packing on the next flight.
Website: Let Others Inspire
Each week at the Take Flight Project site, an entrepreneur talks about a flight that changed his or her life. Founder Vivek Mayasandra says, “I look for amazing people in the world who’ve taken a plane ride that planted the seed for creating a meaningful venture.”
Quote: Confront Edges
“[An idea] almost never comes from reading the traditional blog posts or following the traditional Twitterers. It comes from seeing a movie, or interacting in a place that I’ve never been. If I’m on the road eating in another city, I will never, ever go to a restaurant that I’ve been to before or has been recommended by the concierge. I dig deep into Chowhound and find a place or a cuisine I’ve never had before. If I am listening to music, I spend half of the time listening to music I like and half the time listening to music I’ve never heard before. If I’m driving in a town, I will put on a radio station where they’re talking about stuff I don’t agree with. And confronting these edges in our culture is bound to create sparks, and sparks turn into fires.” —Seth Godin, entrepreneur, author and speaker
Study: Cross Borders
A 2009 study conducted by INSEAD and the Kellogg School of Management showed a link between creativity and time spent abroad. In the study, students were asked to solve a problem: how to attach a candle to a piece of corkboard so it could burn without dripping wax. Students who had lived abroad were significantly more likely to solve the problem than those who had not resided outside their birth country.
Tool: Play Cards
Several card sets have been developed that contain creativity prompts. For example: “Honor thy error as a hidden intention” is one card in the Oblique Strategies deck, developed in 1975 by musician Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt. Oblique Strategies decks can still be purchased online (eBay), and several apps based on the deck are available in the iTunes store. Or try Method Cards, developed by the renowned design company IDEO. Each card describes one method/question IDEO uses in design development. Example: “Catalog the activities and contexts that users experience throughout an entire day.’ An iPhone app is also available.