Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 23, 2009 9:21 AM

6 Ways To Inject New Ways Of Thinking Into Your Business

There are some who say that it is time to "think outside of the box." There are some who say that there is no box. There are are some who are quick to generate new ideas. There are some who are dying to know how those people are so quick to come up with new ideas.

In the interest of helping those who are trying to figure out new ways to think differently, here are six ways to generate new ways of thinking. The main concept behind all of these (even if they are channels you are already using/aware of) is to use/think differently when engaged with them. Basically, go against your normal habits. If all you do is watch a particular news program, try to pay more attention to something you would normally not have. If you're used to reading a particular magazine, read an article that you would normally have skipped over.

6 Ways You Can Use Media To Generate New Ways Of Thinking:

  1. Follow This Week In Tech (TWIT) - Leo Laporte does a great job of keeping a live 24-hour stream going over at TWIT Live. While you're on a lunch a break or floating around on a Sunday morning, just soaking in his thoughts, guests and ideas should give you tons of new ways to think about how your business can use technology to be that much more efficient. Chris Pirillo also does a lot of this (in fact, just this past week, he was streaming the full Gnomedex conference online - tons of great speakers and learning opportunities).
  2. Bill Moyers Journal - Bill Moyers brings together a very high-brow list of thinkers and provocateurs. What you wind up with is some very deep and heavy conversations about the state of the nation. It is not light and it is rarely fun, but it is always fascinating. The pace is very different from other types of news/interview shows, and these in-depth discussions (which can be about anything from healthcare reform to the state of the English language) can be a great spark for how your own business can be shaped or changed.
  3. Howard Stern - It's not because of the porn stars or crudeness, that Stern makes this list, but rather his own, personal skill-set. Every day, for close to five hours, this guy is "on" (whether you like him or not). He has an amazing ability to pull stories out of people and he is very quick on his feet. Spend some time focusing on how he brings it all together (the line of questioning, show flow and sheer mass amount of content). It's quite fascinating.
  4. Magazines - If you're reading this, you are probably already neck-deep into magazines like Wired, Fast Company and Technology Review. The trick is to take the latest issue and do two things differently. One, read the issues cover-to-cover. This includes editorial, ads, small bits and the longer features. Some of the greatest ideas are those that are taken from another (very different) industry and applied to your own. Two, if you're not able to read the magazines cover-to-cover, read (at least) two full-length features that you would have normally skipped over. The general idea here is to get you out of your regular pattern, while at the same time having it still be somewhat relevant and connected to your personal tastes.
  5. Read fiction - Full disclosure: I can't remember the last time I read a paperback novel. Most of my reading is either online news, magazines or business books. While at my publisher's a month ago in New York City I ran into Michael Connelly (the bestselling fiction author). At that moment, I went out and bought a couple of his books. Whether it was a turn of a phrase or stepping back to understand how he constructs both his characters and his stories, it led me to some interesting thoughts about how we pitch (and win) business at Twist Image. It could be a classic novel for you or a thriller. Whatever the case, make some time to read some good fiction.
  6. TED - Most of the time when we mention the TED Conference, it is presentations from speakers that will either make you a better businessperson or help you get better at making presentations. The real truth behind the power of TED is that the conference exposes you to how many different people from many different walks of life think, act and improve. Just like some of the other pointers here, hop over to the TED website and watch a presentation (or two) from a scientist, environmentalist, artists, etc...

The basic idea is that to think differently and inject new ideas into your business, you have to expose yourself to how others think, act, write and present. To have new and different ideas, you have to listen and follow new and different ideas.

What are some of things that you do to generate new ways of thinking? 

By Mitch Joel