…either in print or on-line? It is the random article, the short snap-shot about a person (business professional, advocate, politician, public servant and others), a brief tidbit about a new business, gadget, creative idea, or professional organization – that often provides the hint, inspiration, curiosity or germ of a new idea to research, investigate or just reflect upon.

We are curious, we read about something and then, an idea begins to take shape.  And, if we take the next step to get more information, it might lead us to discover something new or something to modify or change.  And yes, FastCompany is just one of a zillion places to get information. For those not familiar with this publication, it was started in the mid-90’s as a magazine that focused on the “new economy”.  It has continued to keep that focus, looking at issues related to innovation, leadership, technology, design and creativity as they relate to business (for profit, non-profit and public sector), products and services.  In addition, it also offers stories of how older, established companies have instituted changes to prepare for the future.  If you want to discover a wave of the future, it is a good place to start.

As I work with my clients, how do I help them prepare for the work of the future?  Since I do not have a crystal ball,  I find  reading/flipping the pages of FastCompany may provide some clues to share and inspire a client to do some research, to investigate, to take the next step.  Here are a couple examples:

  • Several years ago, there was a story about some architects who wanted to design temporary housing for victims of disasters and for refugees.  Their criteria included sustainability, function and privacy.  They had some interesting concept drawings. This idea was creative and also introduced the concept of sustainability before it became part of the lexicon.
  • In the current issue, there was an item in the calendar section that promoted a conference for the Society for Environmental Graphic Design.  These are the folks who design store layouts, museum exhibit spaces, subway information posts.  At the conference, they will talk about what makes a space navigable or informative; form and function. Here is an interesting profession that incorporates multidisciplinary skills, knowledge and expertise.

  • There is also an article about a woman who has developed a business to educate employees about the ‘power of food” to help them improve their health.  She has focused on wellness plans to promote healthy eating in the workplace by partnering with health insurance companies and food companies.  Again, I was curious about a new concept/business;  another approach for a business to advocate for  health, which also incorporated multidisciplinary skills, knowledge and industries.
  • In this issue, the magazine has identified people they consider to be the 100 most creative people in business.  Now I believe creativity is in the eye of the beholder, however reading about the people on this list and what they do and what their organization does can spark new ideas, reframe old perspectives and provide inspiration and/or direction.

Why is this relevant?

Change happens because we are ready and because we are open and responsive to what is going on around us.  What kind of change am I talking about?  I’m talking about changes in your personal or professional life that could be transformational or incremental.  Changes that could include: where you live, how you live;  adding creativity  or volunteerism to your life; taking classes or getting a new degree;  choosing to be a new mom or dad;  strategizing for a promotion or a new career;  leadership tips; ideas for a new product or service;  investing opportunities; trends and new perspectives; or strategies for organizational change.

For those of you who feel stuck…you don’t have to be.  I encourage you to read this publication or other blogs, magazines, listen to lectures or take classes.   Step out, engage with the world, be curious, be inspired and motivated.  And you will be more prepared to take the next step to make a change in your life.

sheila 6/28/10