Are you innovative? I think you might be.

As I’m writing this story, as a country, and as a person who is living in the State of Massachusetts, we are almost four months deep into our Covid 19 life. I’m defining this period as “Covid Life”, as I have tried to embrace the positive aspects of the situation we are in. This is versus dwelling on how our lives were prior to this pandemic, or what some refer to as what our “normal” life used to be.

Naturally being focused on the positive aspects of a scenario is something we should be doing all of the time, but it’s not always easy to do this. Why? Because there are often numerous other distractions we have when we have so many options of what we can be doing outside of our homes. However, given the fact many of us have been sequestered in one place for many months, I’m hopeful that everyone reading this can think of one thing they have done that is something positive they wouldn’t have done without being in our collective Covid 19 life.

When I think about what is the one thing I have done that is unique or would be considered innovative to the time period now, it would be something you will probably laugh about. That’s OK, as it is actually funny when I think about it too. Given it’s summer in Massachusetts, and we do not have a body of water to experience relaxing in our backyard, I decided it would be wonderful to have some type of water to enjoy nearby. Perhaps to simply float in.

As I was considering my options for how to innovatively find a solution for me and my family to enjoy floating in some water in our backyard, the obvious solution of having a pool entered into my mind. However, lots of other people also had this same idea. So, finding an affordable pool, and one that you could assemble yourself became a more difficult challenge than it ordinarily would be. So, what did I do? This is where I had to be innovative with my thinking.

Since most of the pools that would cater to adult people were not available, I thought perhaps non-adult pool options might have to be considered. As I was driving to the store to consider such options, I saw my next-door neighbors’ kids pool. It actually looked like the perfect solution! When I arrived at the store and made my way to the aisle where I would find pool solutions, right in front of me was the exact same pool that my next-door neighbors had. Keep in mind they are ages five and seven.

Given the fact the pool option I was considering was intended for grown-up kids, this didn’t eliminate it as an option. As a matter of fact, it was the ideal solution given how I wanted to utilize it. As I noted earlier, what I wanted to enjoy from having a backyard water option was to be able to float in some water. The water didn’t need to be deep, or the pool expansive in size, it only needed to be able to accommodate one person lounging in it. More ideally, factor in also acquiring a blow-up float to achieve and create the feeling of floating in the ocean on a raft! Yes, that is something I secretly love to do, and I find it to be amazingly relaxing. Warmer water is ideal, but most of the water in the places I go locally doesn’t get above 70 degrees. Hence the need for a float.

Upon solving my challenge of finding a pool that could accommodate my interest in floating in it, I decided to invest slightly more money and bought two more pools and floats so that others in my family could also float in them simultaneously. If you are thinking this solution must have cost a lot of money, my total investment was under $100! Does this solution make me happy? You bet it does. As a matter of fact, it’s even better than I expected it to be. Why? Because when I close my eyes while I am on my pool float, I imagine myself being transported to being in many wonderful tropical places, and all without hurting my bank account.

So, as promised, here are some tips you can consider to inspire and turn on your innovative mind.

  1. Think of a challenge. Any one. Consider how you would normally solve it, and then think of one or two other ways to find a solution.
  2. Pick up something near you that is made by a human. If you were an engineer, designer or inventor, how would you redesign this item?
  3. Take a walk outside. Preferably a place that has some nature you can admire. Look around and notice the structure of any item (e.g., a tree). Could you imagine how it might have been made differently?
  4. Find a half dozen random items around you. How would you put them together to create a sculpture? Try this, and take as much time or use as many other items to have the items fit together to remain in place (e.g., tape, glue, string). Now, imagine if someone paid you for what you created?
  5. Find someone you are living with, or contact someone via video to walk through and try out any of the four suggestions above. Brainstorming with another person is a phenomenal way to crank up your innovative mind.

If you have ever been told, or think you are not creative or innovative, I challenge you to try the suggestions above. There is a descent probability that you will change your mind about whether you consider yourself to be even slightly innovative. Perhaps you are not at a genius level of being that way, but I guarantee you have more creative and innovation abilities than you give yourself credit.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

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