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Eyes Wide Open - Scouting for Spark Moments

To facilitate our innovative potential, we can arrange activities in our daily lives so that we are exposed to and made conscious of many different forms of stimuli. Opportunity to attract an insight abounds. I call these opportunities "scouting for spark moments." —we can scout everywhere and at all times by simply walking out the front door of our house or arranging an informal gathering of people. An amazing world of discovery awaits us each and every day, stimulating our senses and bringing color, experience, and sensation into full bloom. And in every experience or piece of evidence we bring to the surface through scouting, we hold the potential to spark our natural innovative abilities.

Through scouting, we can cultivate a sense of awe and wonder about the world and its people. Such a demeanor can arise, for example, simply by watching children tossing a Frisbee in the park or friends dining at a restaurant. With eyes wide open, the scout will notice the subtle differences between one experience and the next and discover the vital relationship between elements. For instance, in the case of a restaurant, the scout might discover how the food is acquired, prepared, delivered, and presented. The wonder and awe the scout experiences are the result of not only taking in the basic dimensions of the restaurant experience—menus, plates, food—but also of the aesthetic qualities—lighting, expression, the demeanor of the wait staff , the presentation of the food and overall customer experience.

To help spark our creative and innovative potential, scouting should produce a stimulat- ing effect on all of our senses. Mobility is necessary to practicing the habit of scouting to keep us active and alive with rich insight and possibilities for solving a challenge. When we are stimulated, there is a natural correlation between what we notice and what we feel. The basic premise behind scouting is to cultivate a balance between curiosity, observation, absorption, inspiration, relevancy, and diversity. Fruitful scouting depends on the development of each of these elements.

On any given day one sensation alone can make the difference in how we feel and respond to the world. And on that day, that sensation may be just the spark we need to solve a problem, discover a unique idea, and enliven our creative spirit.

Scouts are always moving from place to place in advance of everyone else. A scout is a person who is observing, inspecting, and discerning what’s going on in her surroundings in order to obtain information and generate insight. As if on a hunt, the scout is looking to gather fresh intelligence that will inspire creative action. Perpetual seekers, scouts love the quest and the discovery of where their journey will take them. A scout moves with curiosity, energy, and anticipation and is devoted to observation and exploration. They are natural scanners with a keen ability to either see what no one else sees or to see the same things but derive new insights.

Scouts are curious in all sorts of ways. They are eager to learn and have the desire to get to the good stuff , the underlying cause of one thing or another. “Once you have nurtured curiosity the exploration of insights becomes contagious,” says my co-author and colleague Jeannine McGlade. “Being curious helps me to keep myself open to the possibilities, and the more possibilities I am able to generate the more likely I am able to generate insights that will lead to creative solutions.”

So the next time when you are looking for a little inspiration or you feel stuck, get out and about. Instead of sitting at your desk this morning, go to a local cafe, shop, book store, park and watch people. Take a new route to work or spend time at a museum and absorb the experience. And when you do, keep your "eyes wide open" because you never know what kind of insight or idea might be awaiting you on your journey.

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