The human brain. Three pounds of magical complexity. 100 billion cells. One quadrillion (that’s 15 noughts!) connections. But it’s a lazy beast. It’s wired for repetition and will always try to take the path of least resistance. When faced with an event, a sense or a stimulus, it’ll look in its hard drive and pull out the ‘programmed’ response it gave last time. Don’t knock it, it’s what keeps us alive. When we do things often enough, they become ingrained into our sub-conscious, it’s what’s known as a zombie system. That’s why we can drive to work sometimes and then realise we have no recollection of the journey we’ve just made. It’s why we can’t recall locking the front door when we leave. It’s why tennis players talk about being ‘in the zone’ – relying on their instincts and experience of hitting thousands of shots so that they can play without even thinking. But it makes us lazy too, because we are programmed to do the things we’ve always done. If you’re over 30, there’s a good chance you wear a watch. Why? Because you always have (some of us wouldn’t feel properly dressed without it!). But take a look at teenagers leaving a college and see how few of them wear a watch. Why would they? The time is all around them, on their phone, their iPod, their computer. It’s hard for us to break habits. But creativity often comes from breaking these habits, from seeking new perspectives and leaving our comfort zone. New experiences, new stimuli, new viewpoints, new insight – these are where ideas come from. Yesterday I ran the first Creative Communicator workshop for the Institute of Internal Communications in London. For an exercise in seeking new perspectives, I sent the delegates out to the shops to explore what ideas about communication they can pick up from the retail world that could be applied in their own workplace. Even in just 15 minutes, they came back with some great ideas. One delegate hit on an idea from the M&S sweet counter about the concept of ‘pick and mix’ – possibly allowing people to choose the communication message they want to engage with from a pick and mix display. Another participant was inspired by the way Hotel Chocolat packaged its products within picture frames. This is the stuff of innovation. New perspectives = ideas = creativity = innovation = business value.