Where Do New Ideas Come From?

July 19th, 2023

At the beginning of the year, I read about a new trend. Instead of creating resolutions that often fall by the wayside in a few weeks, people chose a “nudge word.” 

The idea is your “nudge word” becomes your guide throughout the year. Two things immediately made me like this better than the typical resolution. First, you can’t fail because there is no strict regimen you’re trying to stick to, and conveniently, there is no guilt or regret if you miss a week or two. Second, the word can serve as a constant reminder or filter by which you can make choices throughout the year. A nudge word could be anything — like gratitude, health, or travel. 

I chose “Creativity.” 

My word made me start thinking about where creativity originates. How do we conjure up new ideas? Often things bubble up, but from where? And can we produce creativity on demand, or does it require inspiration?  

My experience tells me that to find creativity or be creative, I must be open to new ideas and different ways of looking at the world. I look for patterns or trends to find unique collaborations or mashups. Also, I find I need to make some “brain space” to allow creativity, which means letting my mind wander as opposed to jumping from task to task. It’s often why creative ideas come to us when we’re in the shower or doing mundane or routine tasks. Creativity for me can also be jump-started through exposure to creative people.  

I kicked off the year with my newest obsession – Jesse Cole, owner of the Savannah Bananas and author of the book Fans First. His notion of OTTs (over-the-top ideas) is something we’ve implemented at Newport ONE. The concept is to brainstorm without guardrails. The more outlandish, the better. I’ll admit the practical side of me sometimes struggles with this part. It takes some time to get in the groove, but once you do, the juices really start flowing. 

While on my creativity journey, I’ve also noticed the world around me seems to be asserting a creativity vibe. Maybe it’s a post-pandemic, pre-recession, what-have-we-got-to-lose reaction, but there’s a real hunger and need for innovation. 

With revenue soft among most nonprofit organizations this year, we simply can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. I also see more willingness from leadership teams to step outside the box a bit more, take some risks and navigate new ideas, which can be fun and exciting – and maybe a little scary (but in a good way!). 

So, in the spirit of stepping outside the box, the Newport ONE team recently shared with each other the ways we are stepping outside our usual routines and trying something new. The responses were inspiring, individual, and personal, from focusing on more “me” time, to dedicating love and care to a vegetable garden, to seeing more live music, to rediscovering the familiar, to adding a new pet, to travels and other adventures. This exercise was proof-positive that creativity comes from our uniquely individual experiences.

So, take this as your “nudge” to step outside your usual routine, be open to new experiences, and make time for some brain space. 

Category: Resources