If you know how to look, you can find inspiration everywhere — inspiration that can fuel your social life, your hobbies and passions, and even your career. For me, travel is a great way to gain the creativity that will show me how to become a better marketer. Whether I’m exploring my hometown, stretching out on the beach, or exercising my inner road warrior, I try to soak up every experience I can to gain perspective that can inform and inspire my day-to-day work.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way — most people view business travel as a nuisance and a time suck. And with ]]>75 percent]]> of business travelers experiencing at least one setback every year, it’s hard to blame them. But I challenge you to look at business travel through a new lens — one that appeals to your creative growth mindset and allows you to truly experience the delights of life.
Keep these tips in mind as you travel to ensure you’re growing creatively:
1. Stay curious. When you’re only focused on your product, company, and industry, it’s easy to lose sight of the inspiration all around you. Whether you’re strolling through an art museum in Paris or a theme park in Florida, ask yourself how companies are bringing their brands to life. How are they enticing and engaging their guests?
Although I live in Los Angeles, the city still ignites my natural tendency to explore. One convention in particular stirs my innate sense of curiosity: E3. I’m not a big gamer, but I love seeing the way these companies highlight their products. From the video projection and the lighting to the oversized graphics to the staging of the booth experiences, it’s very theatrical and strategic.
2. Pursue the things that naturally draw you in. Use your industry as a diving board, not a fence. Figure out what inspires you, and follow it to different styles of art, music, and events far outside your industry. Go to a jazz festival, Coachella, or Burning Man. This is where truly innovative companies like Apple have found their niche. They can take something like the vibe of a 1960s folk song, pull it into the 21st century, and use it to get people excited about a product.
3. Ditch the tourist traps. When you travel, immerse yourself in the cultural landscape, and you’ll find inspiration in places you never even imagined. In fact, multiple ]]>studies]]> have linked creative inspiration and cultural immersion. According to Adam Galinsky, author and professor at Columbia Business School, these international experiences will increase your “cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought” — or the ability to forge a connection between unrelated forms.
Some people write off Singapore because it’s such a cultural mix. But to me, that’s where the value lies. I’ve found some really inspiring areas in the outskirts, featuring a fascinating mix of ancient and modern influences. It’s easy to get caught up in Gardens by the Bay and high-end hotels, but that sort of “travel” experience should open up more doors, not be the final destination.
4. Mix business with pleasure. It may seem impossible when you’re in back-to-back meetings and working 12-hour days, but work really can be fun. If you can’t find time to explore the city while you’re traveling, try extending your stay a few hours on either end. If you’re willing to search for inspiration at every museum, concert, street market, anime conference, and music festival, you’ll find it.
Paris is one city that inspires me every single time I visit. The city grew out of art, architecture, and creativity, and you can feel that pulse from the moment you set foot in the city. You can go to the Palais Garnier and feel one way and be inspired in a totally different way at the Louvre or the Catacombs.
I’ve seen a lot in my travels, but when it comes to creative inspiration, there’s always more to learn. The day will come when you realize a travel-inspired idea or school of thought is the one creative spark your brand needed.
What are some other ways you grow creatively during your travels? Let me know in the comments section!
Article originally published on ]]>The Marketing Scope]]>.