Why traveling and new experiences are critical for creativity

One of the biggest issues that modern companies, leaders, and professionals struggle with is how to be innovative and creative. That's critical because it's how we move our organizations forward, it's how we move our careers forward, and it's ultimately how we move our civilization forward. 

One of the most important factors in creativity is finding ways to be open and constantly expose yourself to different stories, different ideas, new ways of attacking problems, and new sources of inspiration. That's why traveling to new and different places can be so valuable and seeking out new types of entertainment and education can be amazingly stimulating.

I found a great example of this concept earlier this week in a video from Idea Festival 2011, which I attended earlier this fall. IdeaFest interviewed The Onion's Baratunde Thurston (right) to talk about where his curiosity comes from. He attributed a lot of it to his mother and that despite the fact that he grew up in the inner city in Washington, D.C., his mother found ways to expose him to lots of different experiences, including traveling internationally.   

Thurston said, "Exposure to difference made me more curious because I saw, 'Wow, there's a whole possible world out there that I actually can be a part of and what would it be like to do that.' And so that raises questions and it turns out answering questions just leads to more questions... I think that early exposure to difference is what keeps me curious today." 

Take a look at the short two-minute clip from Thurston: