Imagine the scenario: you enter a boxing ring on the day of a big fight. You’re thrilled to be there and everyone is rooting for you. You enter the ring, the bell rings, and you get knocked out…because you didn’t spend one minute training for the fight before hand. In fact, up until that moment, you’d never even been inside a ring let alone a professional fight.

The reality is that everyday we’re entering a proverbial ring against the competition. We have to fight to create new ideas and campaigns that inspire clients and get your business seen as the champ it is. But…unless you’re preparing, you’re never going to be ready to take on the challenge in front of you.

Whether it’s a brainstorm or a big pitch, problem solving, or being quick on your feet to respond to a client, you need to train your mind to be inventive and adaptive. And just like with any match, the real fight this starts well before the big event.

Links in a Chain


Having a growth-mindset that is aware of its thoughts and environment is worth its weight in gold. That said, combinatory play which recognizes that we’re links in a chain and seeks to engage, is also incredibly important.

The greatest songwriters in the world have one thing in common: they’re inspired by other people, saying that “All of us, we’re links in a chain.” This means that while you have an original idea, your thoughts are really stemming from the wave of ideas, conversations, and interactions you’re having with people throughout the day.

This means your team is more than just a bunch of people you work with; they’re your muses. Get to know them and make an effort to be social with them so that you’re all your authentic selves. It’s only when you’re able to really know people that you have the freedom to express yourself and have others see (and be inspired) by that. For hiring managers, this means hiring people that aren’t just good at the job at hand, but also hiring people who can contribute meaningfully to the inspiration pool.

Fierce Focus


Alan Turing, the British scientist who invented the world’s first computer that helped crack the Nazi code and win World War II for the Allies, had one thing that set him apart from his peers: fierce focus. It’d be worth watching The Imitation Game with your team to be inspired by an individual who managed to do just that in one of the most difficult circumstances with seemingly insurmountable challenges from within himself, his team, his organization, and his opponents…not the mention the challenges of invention which includes lots and lots of failure.

That’s really what fierce focus is about, the ability to keep your eyes on a target despite a shaky environment and moving target. It’s easy to meet your aims when the plan is laid out in front of you; but how will you cope when everything is against you? This is why fierce focus is at the heart of an inventive mindset.