Where are You Finding Your Great Ideas?

August 9, 2013
By Beth Brooks, CAE

New Ideas. Great Ideas. Innovation. Are you learning something new each day?  Suggesting different ways of doing things?  What about reading a magazine you usually don’t read? Go somewhere you have never been. Talk to someone who is not like you.

No one likes to be uncomfortable, but going out of your comfort zone makes you change or move. And that change or move is progress. So it is important to put yourself out there and get uncomfortable in order to see things differently, grow and expand your knowledge.

Being comfortable tends to get us in ruts. After all, it is easier to keep doing the same thing than it is to think about improving it. Who has time to re-think things – just cut and paste what we did last year and change the dates, right?

Here are some thoughts on where you might consider making some changes to move yourself and your organization forward:

For Meetings

Where do you get your ideas? Do you read a variety of magazines? Do you go to other conventions? Do you travel?  Are you always on the lookout for graphics, colors, styling that might inspire you for a brochure or staging. Aaron Hernandez and recently went to a Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) conference in Denver for education, but also to see if they did anything differently. We looked at what they served for their breaks, how did they do their room set ups, and how they managed their signage, among other things.

For Inspiration

What do you do when you need inspiration? Go for a walk? Read? Talk to someone? Go to a quiet place and just think? Travel? We are all so busy that taking time to reflect and allow for inspiration is sometimes hard. But it is important to find time to do it. I tend to eat my lunch at my desk and continue working. When the weather is nice, I will take a break and go for a 20 minute walk in the afternoon – it is energizing. Most of the time someone on our staff will go along which allows for some informal visiting.

For Continuing Education

What have you read recently? In reading a tweet about job interviews today, some companies are asking applicants what book they have read and liked and what they learned from that book. Makes you wonder if you are making the best choices in your reading material. Are you reading the latest association books and sharing that with your board. Do you read other association or business blogs and follow great thought leaders on Twitter or LinkedIn?  I curate my twitter feeds and find great information by following only a few people/sites who offer me good information. 

For Your Office

At the ASAE annual conference this week, Susan Cain spoke about her book Quite: The Power of Introverts. To tell you the truth this was uncomfortable for me, the extrovert. While I knew that not everyone was an extrovert, I just sighed and wondered when they were going to “get with the program and just do it!”. Well, I am embarrassed to say how uninformed I was about the strengths, needs and work patterns of introverts.  In the TSAE office, we have several introverts and I now have a better understanding of how they tick and actually this diversity makes our office so much stronger. What I loved was the realization that my weaknesses are their strengths (creating detailed reports for example). I learn something new each day and I hope that means I am continuing to grow. 

So, what steps will you take to try something new, get uncomfortable and move forward?

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