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The coffee and wine school of innovation.

coffeewineHere’s one for debate around a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  Most innovation occurs when creative people are relaxed and thinking about other things.

We all can picture the corporate R&D lab with tens of scientists working at white boards, or over computer models, or with prototypes.  And we picture programmers working at their workstations or on their portable notebooks creating great new code.

But all of those people are following the flash of inspiration that started their activity, and it is that flash we seek to reproduce again and again in a successful enterprise.

[Email readers, continue here…]  This leads us back to coffee and wine, and showers, and quiet time.  Given that we are looking for that flash of inspiration that starts us down the path of innovation through the hard work of R&D, maybe we should reengineer our thinking about allocation of time for our most creative resources, including ourselves.

There are times when creativity comes under pressure.  Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.  But whole leaps into new groundbreaking areas of innovation most often come from times of reflection, when the mind is clear to dream ahead, to think without interruption.

So there are those who subscribe to the coffee and wine school, and encourage creative thinkers to find extra time in the early mornings or evenings to free the mind to innovate, to find the spark that could propel a company forward.

  • Jason Peterson

    Yes – point well made! I find exercise and sleep to be the two most important factors in achieving clarity of thought and inspiration. It helps to be able to be pro-actively working on an agenda as opposed to reacting to people interrupting the ideation process with questions and immediate needs. Sometimes a change of venue helps with that. Being in front of clients and a part of the community is also helpful. Get out of the office!

  • I couldn’t agree more. My website was founded in my quiet time and reflection time. My website continues to unfold as I make myself slow down and listen to my thoughts, my dreams and visions for it! Then the action comes!

  • While I’ve certainly enjoyed flashes of brilliant creativity when exercising or having a glass of wine, I believe that the difference between a professional and an amateur is being able to create on demand within a time frame. Often, that means doing it in an office or at a client meeting – on the spot.

  • Wernard Shoy

    Perhaps there are moments when having a cup of coffee and cognac
    innovative thoughts comes, but at me personally innovative thoughts arise in connection with the labor process, as possible facilitate the work of man.

  • I do subscribe to the coffee & wine theory of creative thinking. I once created a very successful company on a cocktail napkin. On a daily basis, I have trained myself to stay in bed 10 minutes after waking each morning. That’s when I do a “mini” creative session with myself on what I want out of today. Try it – it works!

  • Michael O'Daniel

    Couldn’t agree more — I can verify from my own experience that you have got to allow yourself time to think. Where and how doesn’t matter as much as creating one or more environments that will facilitate inspiration and thought. Think, then plan. I often find that when I am too immersed in a project that I have got to stop, put my feet up, and give it more thought.

    Now, once you’ve done the innovative thinking and planning, getting someone who can help you move forward to listen and buy in — there’s the challenge. (Unless you own / run the organization and can make such decisions unilaterally… )

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