Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
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Creativity needs thinking time!

How many times have you seen some invention or innovation that not only impresses you but causes you to say that you wish you had thought of that? By the very nature of that comment you are acknowledging that innovation needs thought.

And yet, in today's world, how often do we get the opportunity to simply sit and think? In reality, most days have plenty of such time but we are inclined to equate sitting and thinking with doing nothing.

Because of this we fill every moment with some form of action whether it is productive or not. Where once people would sit on a bus or train and let their minds wander, now there is a never ending process of checking emails or Facebook. 

Even walking down the street cannot be accomplished without the headphones constantly pumping out from smartphones or iPods. Walking itself is very rarely carried out for pleasure or health benefit, but rather it is a means to get from one activity to another.

Even when one returns home it is a whirlwind of technology whether ordering on the internet for takeaways, operating the microwave, having another quick injection of Facebook and glueing oneself to the television.

Interestingly, because of my belief in the creativity of the young, I did a search on innovation by young people. I certainly found some extraordinary examples and was amazed to find that popsicles came from an 11 year old, ear muffs from a 15 year old, the trampoline by a 16 year old and Braille by Louis Braille at the age of fifteen.

The tragedy is that all of us could be coming up with ideas that would benefit others if we took the time. Most innovations are incremental improvements on existing products. For example, I can imagine the thought process that caused someone in a Chinese Restaurant to redesign the chopsticks with a simple fork at one end. I bet he was someone who was embarrassed to ask for a fork because he found chopsticks difficult.

It was a simple thought that saw the naval engineer drop a spring onto the floor, watch it gracefully move itself along and realise that it would make a great toy for children. Hence the slinky was born.

Like the young Indian boy you could come up with a torch with two bulbs at right angles so that the torch can light ahead and around the feet at the same time. All it takes is a bit of thought.

As humans we have a duty to use the particular innovative skills that set us apart from others in the planet. So we should stop filling our days using the innovations of others 24/7 and we should find time to think. Why not have smartphone free time? Why not try not turning the mobile on the minute you get up, get off a plane or leave the cinema?

More importantly, why not take walks in the park or the countryside and learn to turn off. Find time to sit quietly at home or on the bus and clear your mind of daily trivia. Start looking at the world around you and see the ways that the things you use can be improved however slightly. Instead of getting annoyed at things look at ways to fix them. 

In other words, stop complaining and use your extraordinary powers as a human being to make incremental improvements in order to solve your problems. And if your problem is also someone else's then you may get rich at the same time!

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