Many people have asked us about the meaning behind the need to “think like a tourist” — a topic we’ve covered before on our blog. It sounds fun and slightly risky, but what is it? How does it help people come up with innovative solutions? Push along a brainstorming session? How does thinking help people think creatively?
“Thinking like a tourist” is what psychologists and scientists refer to as the attitude of perceptual innocence. Basically, it’s a learned method of thinking and ideation; of looking at ordinary objects around us, focusing on their details and then letting the mind wander gently to make connections, or even make remote or obscure links to the object. Once learned and practiced, it opens the door to playful thinking and experimentation, and can be brought back to any number of problems we are playing with on any given day.
Think of it this way: it’s like waking up in a new city. Walking out of your hotel room and tossing out the GPS. It’s taking in the smells, sights and sounds. Your senses see the ordinary sights in a new context. And in the process, you awaken new connections, such as finding the best corners to explore and visit.
There are any number of creativity techniques: divergent thinking, vertical thinking, and lateral ideation. Thinking about the ordinary in extraordinary ways opens up new possibilities, and takes us into the unknown.
Try this “tourist” technique today — and notice how differently your everyday world and situations look to you.
Inspired thinking starts with looking at the world differently. It can come from within ourselves, but it’s often more fun when it comes from artists — visual artists, such as Stanley Kubrick, for example. Kubrick invites us to see our daily lives by way of visual cues and patterns. It’s always a jolt to the system and at the same time, a hilarious (and enlightening) way to feel and experience.
Kubrick’s creative visionary mind and methods of thinking are akin to some of today’s tools:
• Boxes are a tangible version of Google and other search engines.
• His photography requests resemble Google maps.
• His late night memos resemble texts or tweets.
Just watch this documentary on Kubrick to see what we mean. And let us know what you think. How are you seeing the world in a different way?
Happy New Year! Please meet Gina Young, one of our copywriters at Oishii:
1. What was your first paying job doing what you love?
My first real, grown-up writer job was for Pop Up Video on VH1, which was exactly as fun as you would imagine it to be. But the first time I remember getting paid to be creative was when I was in fourth grade. I got to leave school early (no way!) to sing a song in a real recording studio… and from that moment on I was so eager to get out in the real world and learn by doing. I quickly became the kid who was always writing and self-publishing zines, making music and putting it out on cassettes, or putting on plays with my friends. Do-it-yourself all the way.
2. What inspires you in your work?
Language itself, I think. Writing is like problem-solving; rearranging words, and with every word you add or subtract you can completely change the meaning or the feeling of a thing.
3. What are your favorite types of projects?
My favorite types of projects are things that haven’t been done before, or things that have only been done in a way that I want to turn on its head. I’ve been writing a lot for the stage lately (see links below), but I also like writing web content and am working on a feature-length screenplay.
4. What is your ideal working environment?
I do my best writing on trains and public buses. Coffee shops can be nice too, because it feels like a co-work space where a bunch of us are all writing together. I’m very excited to finally — this weekend! — get benches for the little breakfast nook in my new apartment. It’s going to be such a good workspace for me; a nice rectangular table, tons of light, but it’s very claustrophobic and womb-like. Haha.
5. What artists inspire you?
Artists and playwrights whose work I’ve been returning to a lot recently include Keith Haring, Tom of Finland, Frida Kahlo, Caryl Churchill, Maria Irene Fornes, Anna Deavere Smith… I’m also very inspired by the work of Los Angeles choreographer Ryan Heffington. I had the pleasure of producing a recent dance concert at his studio and look forward to doing the next one in February 2014.
6. What companies do you like to work for?
The best companies are the ones that are open to new ideas and to change, that embrace social media and that do everything in a spirit of collaboration. And of course, the closer as I can be to the arts/film/TV, the better.
7. How do you like to work? As a freelancer? Alone? In an office environment?
I prefer to work alone, but I also love collaboration. I’m a freelancer by nature because I need new stimulation every day. Some of the best days of my life were when I was traveling or touring; I love falling asleep in one city and waking up in the next. I’m not a huge fan of routine, although I do value discipline and long hours.
8. What kind of mentoring do you find most helpful to you?
I wish I had more mentoring in my life! I think the best mentor is one who listens to your goals and doesn’t impose their will on you, but can still be super real about where they think you should be focusing your energies, and what steps you should or shouldn’t take.
The holidays are upon us, and while they can bring with them a mountain of stress (for various reasons), there’s one emotion they trigger that we should all learn to harness all year long – gratitude. Studies have shown the positive effect of feeling genuine gratitude, which can improve overall physical and mental health, including creative problem solving and memory. And people who are more positive tend to have stronger friendships, better relationships and happier employees. Expressing appreciation towards someone not only strengthens the relationship, but it also opens up the lines of communication. This is especially important when you’ve got people of very diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking working together – often on tight timelines. We previously discussed how bringing together an eclectic team yields a unique mix of capabilities and depth. Giving direct thanks for each of their distinct contributions and insights can aid in the success of a team by ensuring each person knows they are heard and valued for what they bring to the overall conversation.
So, while Thanksgiving Day may be a good reminder to be thankful, try practicing gratitude once a day. Stuck in traffic? Use that time to think about all of the good things you have in your life, rather than what you don’t. Early for a conference call? Remind yourself of the many people who have influenced your life in one way or another. Creativity doesn’t have to be a lonely process; many times, our greatest ideas are sparked by those around us who offer feedback and encouragement to keep us going. Tell your coworkers, your employees, your business partners and your vendors how much you value them. The more gratitude you build within yourself, the more you’ll have to share, thus giving back some of that happiness – and its creative benefits – to those around you.
Recently, we talked about How Meditation Makes You a Mindful Multitasker, but the benefits of mindful meditation go even beyond improving our ability to juggle our work, it’s also a cognitive workout. We spend so much time focusing on improving our bodies that it’s easy to forget about giving our brains a little strength training as well. In a recent article in The Atlantic titled “How Meditation Works,” Dr. Katherine MacLean, a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine stated that when “you strip it of its religio-historical context, mindfulness meditation is essentially cognitive fitness with a humanist face.” Studies have shown that just like other forms of exercise, the more you do it, the more of a lasting impact it has.
Filmmaker David Lynch is a firm believer in this concept and has even published his thoughts on meditation and creativity in the collection Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. In it, he describes the creative benefits he’s received from practicing meditation and how it’s influenced his style as an artist by keeping his mind nimble and helping him dig deeper into his creative conscious.
According to Lynch: Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.The more your consciousness – your awareness – is expanded, the deeper you go toward this source, and the bigger the fish you can catch.
Just as we wouldn’t expect our bodies to be capable of running a marathon without plenty of training, if you want to be able to fully flex your creative muscle, you need to build up core strength in your mind, and mindful meditation is a great way to start.
At Oishii, storytelling is at the heart of what we do. Whether we’re launching a new brand, redefining an existing one or creating a 360-degree integrated experience, storytelling drives every one of these projects. The rise of digital technology means more opportunities to get your message out – more than we’ve ever had before. But with these new platforms also comes the fear that the rise of digital storytelling will fundamentally change what we do, shifting it into something unrecognizable. After all, if we can’t foresee it, then how can we adapt and excel with it?
But the key to good storytelling is older than any technology. No matter how many new ways we come up with to tell a story, the fundamental core of it remains the same: a good story is about connecting, be it to a character, an emotion, or, yes, even a product. Worrying that the story is dead just because the mediums for it have evolved would be like worrying that we’re no longer capable of love just because people use dating sites to meet someone.
Good storytelling transcends the platforms we use to deliver it, ensuring that no matter what technological changes we see, if your story is well told, engaging, and, most importantly, provides a value to your audience – be it informative or entertaining – it will make that connection. All of the companion Twitter feeds and carefully-timed video series in the world are not going to give your audience a reason to care. So, before you start wondering whether a Pinterest board or a sponsored Buzzfeed article is the best delivery medium for your story, make sure you’re telling a good one.
Om, that feeling of complete calm and quiet is something we’re all greatly missing in our daily lives, which is especially true when we’ve got a busy work and personal life schedule. Stress can manifest itself in many ways mentally and physically. It impacts our ability to be creative and think clearly, the way we relate to others, the quality of our sleep, and our overall well-being.
Latest neuroscience research shows that giving yourself time to relax and meditate help you better make creative decisions and even multitask. According to a paper titled “The Effects of Mindfulness Meditation Training on Multitasking in a High-Stress Information Environment,” released by professors at the University of Washington, meditation training can help people working with information stay on tasks longer with fewer distractions and also improves memory and reduces stress, which is something we could all use a little more of.
We share IDEO founder and Stanford professor David Kelley’s ideas in his most recent book Creative Confidence. We too believe that for clients to think creatively, it takes a lot of taking a step back, breathing and letting yourself assess the situation before judging or using analysis, the basic principles of meditation. That’s not just beneficial on the client side; anyone in our creative community could take a page from that. Too many times when we’re faced with a situation that has us over-taxed, emotionally, physically or mentally, we’re in such a hurry to power through it to get to the other side that we don’t often stop and really let ourselves really think on it.
So even with all of those multitasking apps aimed at improving productivity at our fingertips, the best solution might actually come from within.
A while back, a group of us were meeting to discuss a project and client expectations. The internal conversation pivoted to questions about finding a “blue ocean” space for the design and branding industry, which eventually turned to a debate on measurement, and how to quantify “creative” using the metrics of efficiency and “value.”
Someone chimed in, “Creativity can’t be constrained by bottom-line considerations. That ‘line’ pushes away imagination and limits vision.” Since then, this perspective has become part of the culture and fabric at Oishii. Ish was recently featured on postPerspective speaking on this very tension: http://bit.ly/15Fv23V
We’re proud to present “Delicious“: all the creative inspiration that’s fit to “print.” Curated daily, our digital newspaper puts an eclectic community of the thinkers, dreamers and creators at your fingertips.
Why did we launch Delicious? Because we want to share the ideas that stir our wonder, curiosity and excitement – a platform that echoes the true sentiment of our company mantra: “Dare to Inspire.”
We believe inspiration is the key to imagining and experiencing the world in new and unforeseen ways. It informs every facet of our multidisciplinary approach to delivering award-winning creative. It is the bridge between great ideas and even greater creations.
In our creative field, inspiration is beautifully cyclical – and it all starts with our clients. We strive to reciprocate that with the caliber of creative we bring to their brands.
So flip through the pages of Delicious and discover a world where inspiration abounds, from industry-centric ideas surrounding design and digital media, to the music and arts community. As you come along on our Delicious journey, we hope you also find your own inspiration!