One of the old axioms of business is that a great manager finds the answers while a great leader finds the questions. And…there is nothing as good at leading you to questions as extensive travel.
Unfortunately, all travel is not equal. Traveling the same paths with blinders on ensuring you only experience the same things is not what we’re talking about. The travel that leads to great questions is travel that takes you to places you not only haven’t visited before but couldn’t even imagine before setting foot in them. It’s travel that might be beautiful and comfortable or ugly and uncomfortable, or even dirty and dangerous.
Again though, all such travel doesn’t lead to great questions and insight. Your mind set during travel is key.
Challenge your assumptions. Notice what you see that violates what you thought was the best way to do things. Be aware when people not only don’t do something the way you do it…but don’t do it at all.
Listen, observer, be curious about what’s going on but more importantly notice what’s going on underneath what is going on.
Forget the restaurants the concierge recommends and ask the doorman where he eats. Listen to music that makes your ears hurt and talk to the regular people. Walk through neighborhoods that are a bit on the rough side and visit places where the artists are on the cutting edge. Balance this by wandering around the most interesting architecture and visiting remote places of great natural beauty.
Creativity is unleased when you least expect it, when your brain is relaxed and open to experience. Creativity is unleashed when you not only see but deeply observe things out of the ordinary. Creativity is unleashed when you leave your comfort zone and experience the world as others do. Creativity is unleashed when you are willing to live in a world of possiblity rather than a world of consistency and fear. Great questions come when you unleash your creativity to challenge your assumptions.
Challenge your assumptions always.