I Got Nothing! Inspiring Innovation When Your Tank is on Empty

Jen Borucki, Research Strategist | September 6, 2017

You know the drill. The project that has been staring up at you from your desktop for a week now. You need a brilliant idea. Yet so far, nothing is coming. Time is ticking away. What will you do?

That’s the stuff nightmares are made of, right? But this is not the moment for fear, which is more likely to derail your brilliance than to build it. No, this is the time to take a deep breath, take a step back and free your mind to discover your inner genius.

Whether you are looking for a new strategy, fresh creative or that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take your business in a whole new direction, here are some tips that might help you discover your inner genius:

  • Reset your brain. My colleagues at mg love when I ask to hit the reset button. It might mean switching projects or even the type of work I’m doing. If I’ve been researching an industry heavily, I might need to draft a blog. If I’ve been writing a lot of copy, it may be time to sit down with a good spreadsheet. If nothing else, perhaps it’s time to hit the office treadmill and let some exercise get the endorphins going. The fusion of left- and right-brain thinking is a powerful thing. Whatever you can do to spur those neurons to fire is going to help.
  • Refresh your body. Nothing spells insomnia like worrying about a project. But great brains need their rest. Resist the temptation to stay late. Instead, give yourself an early bedtime and see if a little sleep will help you see the light. If you’re like me, your REM sleep may present some great answers to your biggest challenges. Make sure you keep a pad and pen by your bedside in case you awake with tremendous inspiration. Or give yourself a call on your smartphone. Just be sure to be ready when that great idea comes to make sure you remember every detail.
  • Recharge your resources. Seek help from your team – or even an unlikely source. A favorite team member. That co-worker you never have the chance to engage with. Your parent, child or significant other. Whoever inspires you. Take an early lunch with your co-worker and discuss away from the office, free from distractions. (Maybe you can even swap projects for a bit and give fresh perspective to each other’s challenges.) Take a late dinner with a family member or friend an talk through the thoughts floating through your head. Sometimes just freeing your headspace will give you the answers you need, even if your preschooler would rather color the placemat than design your next experience marketing program.

So when you need to find that next world-changing idea, remember – you can do it! Inspiration can come in the most unusual forms. Just be ready when greatness strikes.