Find space for creative meandering

In the frantic busyness of everyday life, there’s seldom time to contemplate the bigger picture, little “space to breath”, writes coach Sabina Nawaz, who works with executives around the globe. “In the age of the knowledge worker, these leaders are hired for their intellectual horsepower,” she says. “Yet, the demands of their jobs seem to leave no space to actually stop and think.” That’s not only sad; it’s bad for business, adds Six Thinking Hats author, Edward De Bono. “In business training, a great deal of emphasis is put on decision-making. Yet the quality of any decision depends very much on the alternatives available to the decision-maker.” William Duggan, a proponent of the intelligent memory theory of creativity, says executives should look to military history and Buddhist monks, not brainstorming, to learn how to solve problems and generate ideas. Intelligent memory debunks the left brain-right brain approach, suggesting that analysis and intuition work together in the mind in all modes of thought. Duggan cites military scholar Carl von Clausewitz and Napoleon as examples of intelligent memory at work. “The presence of mind Clausewitz describes is akin to the calm state that precedes a flash of insight,” he says, “which neuroscientists can now measure. Their subjects include Buddhist monks and other masters of meditation. That explains why you get your best ideas not in formal brainstorming meetings but in the shower, or driving, or falling asleep at night – when your brain is relaxed and wandering.”

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