Out-of-box thinking sometimes literally has to take place out of the box (office). Entrepreneurs contemplate where they contemplate best, from a high-altitude climb to a hotel bar and all the outdoor, indoor, and unplugged places in-between.
1. During a Hike
We've had some incredible brainstorming sessions while we were hiking with team members and clients. There's something amazing about being outdoors; fresh air and exercise kick brainpower into high gear and get ideas flowing!
--Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
2. On a Team Outing
Doing something fun with your team can lead to a lot of out-of-box thinking for challenges you're facing in your business. Just set some ground rules first. Make sure people know what problem they are trying to solve during the team outing, or pose a new question or challenge for each new location you visit.
--Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World
3. In the Shower
All my best ideas seem to click in the shower. Maybe it's something about the quiet time away from other people and technology; maybe it's the sound of the water running. But I know I'm not the only one who sometimes takes extra long showers so I can think things through. --Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
4. At Dinner With Peers
Outsiders' perspectives are highly undervalued. Opinions from those outside of the space tend to be quickly disregarded because they don't know how the business or industry works. But that's precisely why brainstorming over dinner (and maybe drinks) with your non-startup friends can help your business thrive: They can see things that you cannot. --Danny Wong, Blank Label
5. In a Tea Shop
I drink quite a lot of tea. I find it relaxes me and allows me to disconnect from my current work. Some of my best thoughts come when I've disconnected from them, and tea is the best way I've found to do that. I usually sit in a tea shop by myself and just think random thoughts until, inevitably, I have an epiphany.
--Liam Martin, Staff.com
6. On a Run
I find running to be the most conducive brainstorming outlet for me outside the office. There's just something about breathing in the fresh air and feeling the wind on my face that helps me block out all distractions and heighten my creativity. --Ted Murphy, IZEA
7. During a Flight
I get so much planning done on airplanes. I can completely shut off distractions and turn on my creative mind. My trick is to never hop on a plane without a few blank pages in a notebook.
--Allie Siarto, Loudpixel
8. At the Dog Park
Taking a walk is one of the best ways to jog my memory and brainstorming faculties. There's nothing better than taking a walk with the dog to do that. (You get bonus points for throwing a ball or a stick.) There's something about being surrounded by trees with fresh air that also contributes to the park being my "best ideas spot." --Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool
9. At a Table for One
10. In the Mountains
I've led or joined a few high-altitude (19,000 feet or more) mountaineering trips, often with other entrepreneurs. The combination of isolation from distraction, physical activity, and change of scenery can bring about truly novel insights. Getting a little loopy from the lack of oxygen probably helps you see things from a different angle, too! --Erik Severinghaus, SimpleRelevance
11. By the Ocean
Spending time watching the waves reminds me of how massive the ecosystem is and how small of a challenge I'm facing. It inspires me to let go of my fear of failure and uncertainty and to make a decision or find a solution. --Shradha Agarwal, ContextMedia
12. At a Downtown Park
I find inspiration for brainstorming where nature and city collide: the downtown park. The setting lets me enjoy nature while still feeling the energy of the city. A quick walk around the park almost always results in exciting new ideas and conclusions that seemed impossible to reach back at the office.
--James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
13. With My Parents
The same parents who were so uncool during my teenage and college years are now the best sounding boards. They ask, "Why doesn't it work this way?" or "Why is this so confusing?" This often spurs fantastic ideas for product improvements or new concepts altogether. Brainstorming across generations, locations, and lifestyles has lead to a few ideas that I credited to my parents!
--Kim Kaupe, 'ZinePak