So, your changing context every 10 minutes or so (see yesterday’s note) what impact does that have?
Professor Mark talked about how it inhibits innovation. Does it? Or is innovation, creativity, more of an accident than something cultivated and worked on? Scott Berkun is of the opinion that “Creativity Is Not An Accident“. He talks about how the stories of people “accidentally” discovering something aren’t really them just stumbling along and – BAM – something hits them from out of the blue. Instead, their discovery is based on the work that they had been doing to discover something else. The “accident” was that they discovered something that they weren’t searching for, but they were already searching for something.
The whole process of innovation, creativity, discovery, is based on time. Not just five minutes here and five minutes there, but contiguous time. When you have the opportunity to sit down and really think about a problem it takes time for your mind to get in gear, but when it does you are so much more creative than when you try squeezing things in on the side. For instance, these long diatribes? Carefully planned out. OK, not really, but they are almost always written in one session, one continuous session. And even though I can type like a madman it takes time to write these notes because I am thinking about what I want to say, how I want to say it and whether or not it even makes sense. (Sometimes it doesn’t, even to me.) And that also explains why I may be talking about one subject at the beginning but deviate part way through and come to a completely different conclusion: I had time to think.
The ability to set aside time to think is precious and needs to be hoarded and zealously guarded. Book a meeting with yourself and leave your desk, go to a meeting room by yourself, visit the library, a coffee shop, a place where you will not be interrupted and simply think about a problem. Innovative ideas are not normally found in a meeting situation. They may gain visibility in such a setting but the germ of the idea, the genesis of the solution, was normally done while having some quiet time.