I have recently returned from the States, where I saw and heard some things that sparked creative ideas that you might find helpful, too. Here we go:
1. TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVENÖ
In Las Vegas, they are testing pedestrian street lights that tell you how much time you have left to cross the road. When the green man comes on, so does an electronic countdown of how many seconds are left before the light turns red.
IDEA: If you are working toward a goal that is some ways off, it might be useful to make some countdown signs for yourself, to help you keep track of where you should be in the process. This could be the number of weeks, days, or even hours left before your deadline.
2. WRITING RIGHTS
Silicon Valley employs a lot of young temporary workers. Raj Jayadev, 27, was fired for trying to rally them against unsafe conditions and salaries without benefits. So he rounded up a collective to do the writing and artwork for a publication he called The Silicon Valley De-Bug: The Voice of the Young and Temporary Worker. As well as being entertaining, it educates temp workers as to their rights.
IDEA: Is there an interest group in the field you work in that does not have a publication? If so, why not start one, or maybe just do a one-off? It could be used to educate, to entertain, or even just to raise your profile in the arena within which you work.
3. SPACE AND MOOD
A huge new night club, the Ivar, recently opened in Hollywood. But instead of being one big space, it is modular, with a loft-style dance hall, a blue-glass chill-out area, and a sexy orange room for intimate secluded conversations. Thereís a space to fit every mood.
IDEA: Have you established areas in your home or working environment that match the different moods of your working and personal life? You do not necessarily need different rooms for different moods.
For example, you might put a small tabletop fountain and some plants in one corner of your office, and sit in that area when you want to chill out or carefully consider your next course of action. In another corner you might have bright colours and posters that you frequently change, to stimulate you when you are brainstorming.
4. BEHIND THE MASK
A couple of welders in Long Beach, California, found their standard black helmet too boring. They decided to decorate theirs. Others saw them, wanted them, and thus a business was born five years ago: Hoodlum Welding. They have now sold thousands of the helmets that look like bulldogs, tigers, gorillas, even a burning skull. (You can check them out at www.hoodlum-welding.com.)
IDEA: What is the most boring item that you use in your line of work every day? Is there a way to jazz it up, either just to make it more fun for yourself, or even as the start of a business?
5. CREATE YOUR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
This item is not actually about America, I just happened to find out about it while there.
Travellers at Gardermoen Airport, 30 miles outside of Oslo, can experience Sound Showers that bathe them in the sounds of the sea, nightingales, a baby, or even voices whispering positive messages in English and Norwegian. The sound showers consist of a pole with a speaker at the top, with a dish facing down to direct the sound. The goal is to provide sound refreshment to weary or lonely travellers.
IDEA: If, like me, you travel quite a bit and are finding it increasingly stressful, consider making up a tape or CD to take along, with the sounds you find most restful (another track could contain the sounds you find most energising).
6. CLOSING QUOTE
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind do not matter and those who matter do not mind." - Dr. Seuss
Til next time, Jurgen