Are you planning a vacation, weekend getaway, or staycation this summer? As you think about what you might want to do or try, consider adding a visit to a business that you have always wanted to learn more about. Many businesses offer tours, but you might want to go a step further and see if you can create your own personal excursion that includes a conversation with the founders and a chance to learn about how they do things (nothing proprietary, of course). Call ahead and make arrangements, or consider contacting your local college or university to see if there are existing trips to destinations that you can join. I took a group of students and alumni to Italy, and one of our stops was a tile factory that inspired its staff by devoting space to design resources for many distinct products and services beyond tile. We left the factory with many ideas to bring into our own businesses—and not one of us is in the tile manufacturing industry.
Your destination need not be exotic, or even involve a passport. Check out local businesses—and invite them back to your business in return. This idea exchange is a great opportunity to think beyond the parameters of your own business, and it’s likely to lead to a new set of "what if?" questions and possibilities for the company.
Professor of Management
Director, Center for Creativity & Innovation
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