July 14

Diving into Stimulus

When was the last time you intentionally did something that forced you out of your comfort zone? For many of us, it’s a difficult question to answer. We fall into habits, routines, certain ways of doing things that feel comfortable and familiar but that do little to help us spark new ideas and do our best work.

If we want to get outside our heads and connect new and interesting dots, we must seek out those dots. I call this a “stimulus dive.” It involves engaging in activities that cause your mind to fire in different ways than it typically would during your normal routine. I’ve led teams on dumpster dives in New York City to see what new stimuli we could discover (I wouldn’t recommend it), and I’ve sent teams on photography expeditions into a neighborhood to snap just a few pictures that tell the story of their brand. The core principle is that new ideas are unlikely to result from sitting and staring at the problem. You need to get out into the world and allow patterns to emerge and dots to connect.

Brilliant ideas emerge in a place of bounded unfamiliarity. Today, put yourself in a situation where “creative accidents” are more likely to occur.

To spark new insights, put yourself in unusual or even uncom- fortable situations.


When will you do a stimulus dive in the next week? Put a time on the calendar!

Related Articles