Your Next Big Thing: Innovation calisthenics

Written by Kara Aaserud

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1. Get out of your rut: Move your watch to the other wrist. Leave your keys in a new place. Take a different route home. Force yourself out of one habit a week, and you’ll start thinking in new directions.

2. Record it before you forget it: Don’t leave home without a notepad, tape recorder or other means to record ideas as they occur. Then force yourself to add 10 related ideas.

3. Immerse yourself in fresh viewpoints: Explore books, magazines, newspapers and websites that are unrelated to your business or personal interests. Travel somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. Surround yourself with people from diverse fields whose new-to-you perspectives will expose you to opportunities.

4. Reimagine the old: Encourage lateral thinking by taking an everyday item such as a paper clip or a rubber band and brainstorming 25 alternative uses for it.

5. Take up a brain sport: Exercise pumps your brain with glucose, which increases oxygen delivery and nerve connections. Keep your mind sharp by participating in a strategic sport, such as football, hockey or soccer. And loosen up your imagination with a rhythmic activity, such as running, walking or swimming.

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