To stay ahead of the pack you need to be innovating.
Innovating is not a willpower thing. You can’t force yourself to come up with new ideas and unique products.
Innovation comes from the intersections of ideas. You need to create an environment that maximizes the odds of finding intersections.
The ingredients are:
Surround yourself with smart, open-minded people, from diverse backgrounds, including gender, race, religion and nationality. Everyone must have a growth mindset.
If you have the wrong people in the room, you’ll never come up with new ideas. You’ll simply come up with 1,000 reasons why nothing will work.
If everyone in the room is the same, then you won’t find new intersections.
- Try new things
Have new experiences. Travel. Do extreme sports. Visit museums. Learn Mandarin.
Pump your brain full of new inputs and it will find the connections by itself.
- Develop deep domain expertise
Develop deep domain expertise in at least one field. Your brain can find relationships with other fields, but only if it is anchored in one area.
Read. Read. Read.
You can never read enough. Fiction, or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter.
Reading fires up your brain juices.
- Find quiet time
Stay away from places where its easy to be interrupted, ie: Joburg. Your brain needs time to digest new inputs and identify connections/intersections.
Prayer, meditation, quiet time all help. What helps the most is living in a town far removed from the rat race.
Its better to opt-in than to opt-out.
You can’t come up with new ideas if you’re micro-managing. You need to get off the ground and get a birds-eye view. You need the free time to read a book, or learn how to surf, or travel to a random country.
Find staff you can trust and delegate.
Minimise decision-fatigue. Every time you make a decision, you steal brain-energy from the search for intersections.
Wear the same clothes every day. Eat the same food. Wake up at the same time. Read the same newspaper.
Find a routine, stick to it.