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What Is Creative Loafing?

You can use periods of relaxation to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems. Yes, you can loaf around productively. How do you creatively loaf? Open your mind, relax, and use one of the many idea-generating techniques.

A Creative Loafing Technique

One of my favorite techniques is great for generating new ideas rather than solving specific problems. It can be used in almost any area of life. It is simply the mental exercise of imagining new applications for existing ideas.

While laying on the couch, I saw a new business advertised on TV. It's a company that uses a dog to find mold in your house. Dogs can be trained to sniff out almost anything. There was a news story a year ago about a dog that could detect if you had cancer.

My first thought? "I wonder what else dogs could be used to find?" One idea that came to mind was to use dogs to find other pets. They find lost people so well, so why not a service to find lost pets? One sniff of the cats favorite rug, and the dog is on the trail.

A Creative Loafing Example

You can certainly use your relaxing times to solve any personal problems. Put creative loafing together with a good idea-generating technique, though, and you can lay under a tree and have an endless stream of creative new ideas. To use this "new-application technique," just start with the essence of the idea, and look for new ways to use it.

You might, for example, lay there and think about the pneumatic tubes that deliver your money and papers at a bank's drive-through. The essence? A cartridge that delivers things through a tube using air pressure. It's easy to imagine the same thing working for human transport. Could you ride "the tube" to the next city? Maybe make this into an amusement park ride?

Look at the other aspects of an idea too. For example, these tubes also allow several customers to be waited on at once. Where else do they need this? A fast food drive through. Pneumatic tubes would spill drinks, but the idea of multiple car lanes can be used. Several drive-through windows, radiating out like spokes, at different angles, would allow three different lines of cars.

Want to practice using this technique? Lay back and...

- Think of two new uses for magnets.

- Think of three new uses for pedal-power.

- Find a new application for Darwin's theory of natural selection, outside of biology.

You can see how easy it can be to come up with new ideas. Why not learn a few more of these techniques? Apply them to personal problems too, and to make the best use of your creative relaxation time, keep a notebook or tape recorder ready.

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