Going Global Makes You More Creative

by Doug Bruhnke

shutterstock_173113388An article earlier this year by Brent Crane in Atlantic Magazine put forth the premise that traveling and experiencing the world makes a person more creative. There’s even science behind it.

The article reports that scientists found new sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations and sights spark different synapses in the brain — inspiring creativity. “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion and adaptation,” says Adam Galinsky, professor at Columbia University. “Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.”

We see the results of this effect every day! Leaders doing global business are working at a higher level than those who are not. Their foundational skills are better, and they leverage their global experiences into mind-expanding approaches to even greater success.

You may have experienced the impact of this when you traveled to a different place. Seeing how others do things can automatically open your mind and get you unstuck. When you were flying home, did your mind kick into overdrive with new ideas on how to run your business?

At the Global Chamber®, we experienced “global” creatively earlier this year with a small team of internationalists led by Mike Patterson of the law firm of Polsinelli, who spent 10 years living and working in Mexico. Mike continually comes up with creative thoughts to solve tough challenges. He pulled us in along with Hank Marshall at the City of Phoenix and Ray Schey, publisher of the Phoenix Business Journal, to come up with an international event.

The brainstorming led to an interest to invite Carlos Slim, the second-richest businessperson in the world, to Phoenix. It seemed impossible — why would Carlos Slim keynote our event? We came up with a multi-pronged approach that involved helping his sister, who runs a nonprofit with ties to Arizona; a letter writing campaign; and a lot of hope and persistence. One month, then two months passed. And in the end, success!

So skip the creativity course. Go global and get all the creativity you need!

Doug Bruhnke is the CEO and founder of Global Chamber®

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