Category: think like a tourist


Gratitude and Engagement: A Link to Be Thankful For

Next Thursday, as we all (hopefully) take a day or two off to sit down with family and friends for a wonderful meal, we will be provided a touchstone to give thanks for all that we have. This year, we at Oishii have a lot to be grateful for: our wonderful clients, amazingly talented team and the opportunity to do what we love every day.

But our goal this Thanksgiving is not just to spend one day feeling gratitude, but to practice it on a regular basis. As we’ve stated before, gratitude can improve overall physical and mental health, including creative problem-solving and memory, as well as strengthen our relationships with friends, family and coworkers. In fact, studies have shown that positive emotions, like joy and gratitude “encourage us to engage with our environment, try new things, play, and generally serve to ‘broaden and build’ our lives.” Sounds a lot like Thinking Like A Tourist, actually.

In this fast-paced and often competitive industry, it can feel more natural to express frustrations about project deadlines and budgets than to express gratitude for everyone who’s coming together to make the project happen, but showing appreciation for employees and coworkers is the single highest driver of engagement in the workplace. Need a more selfish reason to give thanks? Expressing gratitude for the people we’ve surrounded ourselves with allows us to reflect on our genuine appreciation for our situations and feel the stress-busting power of joy. And, the more often we express gratitude to our co-workers, clients, employees and employers, the more genuine and natural it becomes.

So, why wait until the turkey (or tofurkey as the case may be) is roasting in the oven? Why not take just five minutes today to reflect on someone whose dedication, hard work, kindness or friendly smile has made work just a little more positive. Let yourself feel genuine gratitude for that person. And then tell them. You’ll both be thankful you did.


This Fall, Let’s Get Outside

When outdoor supply and sporting goods retailer REI recently announced that for this year’s Black Friday, instead of slashing prices, it would be closing all of its 143 stores, shutting down online orders and paying its employees to #OptOutside instead, they were met with praise for being “a model for the future of marketing.” And while we agree that the co-op is thinking in the right direction, we see something even broader going on here — people are recognizing the importance of embracing the outdoors in recharging their creativity and motivation. As REI CEO and President Jerry Stritzke said, “We define success a little differently… It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”

And while REI is an outdoor retailer, so it makes sense that they’d be encouraging their constituents to embrace nature, that sentiment shouldn’t be limited to rock climbing retailers. As we’ve said before, our company motto is “Think Like a Tourist,” or take yourself out of the everyday and embrace what can happen when you change your routine and your surroundings.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to get outside. Whether it’s by using your lunch break to go for a walk, heading to the beach when you’ve hit a creative speedbump or just spending a little time writing outdoors, the power of changing your location and getting outside can reap real creative benefits.

So, why wait for Black Friday to take a stand? Grab a jacket, unless you’re in LA, get out of the office and clear your mind for an hour or two. You’ll have a much better chance finding your next inspiration when you live a little differently than if you’re waiting in line.


Think Like A Tourist: Why Tedium Boosts Your Creative Work

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Researchers continue to uncover secrets of creativity and in the process, make sense as to how innovation occurs. This new information is applicable to organizations and individuals alike. Anyone who works in the “creative services” industries needs to pay attention to this research.

In a recent study conducted by teams at MIT and the University of Toronto, which was featured in the New York Times, researchers studied 6,000 Kickstarter projects, looking at the relationship between time and the effect on “innovative” ideas. Over the course of nine months, researchers observed patterns of heavy ideation work and administrative or execution of idea work. The study suggested that ideas need robust doses of “non-creative” or process time to help the original idea along. In other words, good ideas need these “uncreative” administrative tasks to become great ideas on the market.

While the study was small, it has implications for creative workplaces. Most directly, it challenges prevailing notions we generally hold about creativity, innovation and how we work.

Ideas Need Process
The big takeaway challenges our mythical attachment to ideas. Most of us love and value creativity, and we see and want the effects of innovation. A singular idea disrupts markets. A visionary with her strength smashes through to markets with the power of her idea. We find ourselves drawn to the story of Newton’s “apple falling on his head” story. We get lost in the romance of the marathon brainstorming session where an idea magically comes to life. However, as the study suggests, there are processes that do the heavy lifting for intangible ideas.

Nurture Ideas
Ideas, as the study suggests, develop through a company pipeline only if encouraged by way of company policies, structures, processes and culture. There is a value to ideas only if they are kept in motion. As many companies proclaim to pursue innovation, creative workers need to continue raising awareness and helping to make tangible the benefits, for example, of innovation hubs to test out ideas. Companies, too, need to invest in idea think-tank teams with dedicated resources and people to keep ideas at play.

Brain Rest
The study pointed out what neuroscience is already telling us: our brains are more creative with lots of time spent relaxing and daydreaming. Obsessive focus yields nothing in the way of creative breakthroughs. Most creatives don’t lack ideas, they are deluged with them. It’s the connecting of different types that yields a new idea or improves an idea already churning through the brain. That’s because the brain needs to go into default mode. As neuroscientist Rex Jung has noted, taking time off doesn’t shut the brain off so much as it gives it license to yield into the unconscious. As the study implies, there was a lot of work going on while the Kickstarter owners went offline.

I hope you’ve found this topic useful in your work. What’s your experience with the generation of creative ideas? How has the power of process helped or hindered your work?


Think Like A Tourist: Yurt Style

photo courtesy of ChoongChing, Flickr

photo courtesy of ChoongChing, Flickr

Think Like A Tourist: Find A Yurt

Creativity often flows through us and into our projects, campaigns and ideas. Part mystery and part an ability to focus intensely, creativity in popular consciousness remains a murky mystery to most. We may not know what creativity is exactly, but we do know we want it.

Neuroscience continues to pull apart what was once the mythical and peculiar brain activity of ideation, imagination, and creation. Early results suggest a small but powerful shift in our thinking. We should frame creativity through the lens of  “skill” rather than a character-based temperament, nature or disposition. Creativity isn’t something people epitomize or resemble, but a tangible skillset with corresponding characteristics.

And given our traditional definitions, thinkers and educators have focused less on how to sharpen creative thinking skills and more on the best ways to “funnel” our chaotic emotions, thoughts and unconscious snippets.

What cannot be studied or scanned in the neuroscience lab is curiosity. That quality we humans should always have; the desire, interest and hubris to tromp into our world and explore every crevice, and piece of technology or experience around us. #thinklikeayurt

Stepping out of the everyday world of deadlines, habits and our curated digital lives is a vital part of staying curious and interested. Oishii designer Amanda Trovela recently stepped out busy L.A. life and dropped into a yurt in Malibu. Yurts are tent-like structures that come from the ancient Turkic peoples. And while going nomadic isn’t necessarily what we should — or could — be doing full-time, yurt-living is an increasingly popular mode of escape as it is a symbol of individual freedom and clear-headed thinking in an age of enforced distraction.

We think yurt life is an excellent tool to Think Like A Tourist.

Are you ready to reinvigorate and #thinklikeayurt?