Solutionman, a.k.a. creativity guru Gerald Haman, is featured in the “frequent flier” column of today’s New York Times business section. In this fascinating vignette, the president of Chicago-based SolutionPeople tells the story of being stranded for two days in the San Francisco airport, while on the way to Australia. So what does he do with all that time? Amazingly, he decides to help other people to brainstorm:
“With hundreds of people milling around, I pulled out an innovation tool I invented called the KnowBrainer and scribbled a sign on paper I got from a ticket agent that read: ‘Free ideas from Solutionman! I will help you with your goals, challenges or problems while you’re waiting.’
Much to my surprise, people lined up to get advice. At first I sat on a seat and later on the carpet with the KnowBrainer, which looks like a deck of cards with questions and quotations, inviting people to sit with me, one by one.”
The lesson: Don’t let travel time go to waste! While you may not be as altruistic as Gerald, who is a relentless networker, there’s something about the anonymity of being on the road, away from the confines of your office, that can liberate your creative muse. In other words, you may find that travel time is also some of your best creative thinking time!