Just finished listening to this excellent podcast on what it takes to stay innovative and fresh, in a world that is so easy to become status quo and complacent.

In it Tom share 5 ways you can stay innovative as you gain experience and age:

1. Think like a traveler.

You know when you travel or go to another county how you notice things that you wouldn’t normally see back home?

That can be very useful for finding opportunities back home. Look at your home, and your current working environment with fresh eyes – those of a traveler. You will see and discover things you were blind to before.

“I don’t know who discovered water but I can guarantee you it wasn’t a fish”.

2. Treat life as an experiment.

By willing to fail a little bit. Fail forward. Fail for learning. For knowledge. Edison of course is the greatest example of this is discovering the light bulb. But only by trying and failing can we discover and learn our way to better things.

3. Nurture an attitude of wisdom.

This one is about being OK with when you know, but don’t believe everything you know is necessarily so.

Tom shares this great example of how Best Buy spent $1Billion dollars buying a record company called MusicLand in 2000. MusicLand has 1300 stores and Best Buy thought this would really increase their distribution – after all they knew their market.

What they didn’t see was Napster. 18-30 years stopped paying for music. And guess who works at Best Buy? 18-30 year olds. Their own employees could have told them this was a bad idea – but a billion dollars later it was too late and MusicLand went bankrupt.

Don’t assume you have all the answers.

4. Use your whole brain.

Left brain right brain stuff.

5. Follow your passions.

Blur the line between work and play.

Tom talks about two buckets he can drop most of his friends into. Those who look forward to the work week, and those who dread it, or at best are working for the weekend.

Be the former. Change if you are becoming the later.

In here Tom also alludes to the three circle analogy Jim Collins gave us in Good to great which is:

1. Find out what you like.
2. Find out what you can be world class at.
3. Discover what people will pay you money for.

And do whatever it is where those three things intersect. This is probably my favorite piece of advice and one I try to live by.

This post doesn’t do the podcast justice. If you are sincerely looking for ways to improve your creativity I suggest downloading or listening to the full hour in the car, when you are jogging, or biking. Well worth it.