How To Inspire Creativity

One of the downsides to travel is that it interrupts my seemingly simple but effective daily creative habit--getting up early, making a cup of tea with a side of cookies and sitting down at my desk or kitchen table with my sketchbook and sketching while my unconscious and judgmental side is still asleep. Jet-lag, client meetings, dinners in new locales kick in and the creativity routines are upended. 

The good news is there are some new creative tools designed for travel. They're small enough to slip into an overnight bag and fun enough to engage with even when your brain is clouded by lack of sleep.

Here is a round-up of some of these fun, handy tools to inspire creativity on the go--

Design Kit Travel Pack, the nonprofit arm of IDEO, has just started a Kickstarter campaign for the Design Kit Travel Pack. The campaign raised $40,000 in 24 hours for "a brand new set of bite-sized design exercises to help anyone solve big challenges."

What is exciting about this cool mobile creativity kit is that you can use it individually as well as with users and clients all over the world, to build empathy, expand and stretch your thinking, and to accelerate collaboration among teams. You can contribute to the campaign for another 3 weeks.

Unstuck Tip Cards

Who doesn't get stuck? Time is short, you need to get a head start with great ideas and yet you are stuck, or worse, procrastinating. One of my favorite books, Unstuck by Stone Yamashita founder Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro is a great idea starter. Unstuck Tip Cards are a travel size companion to the book and my favorite deck is the Stop Your Procrastination Tip Cards. 

The deck contains 30 cards and here is #10: Outsmart your to-do list. The advice on this card is to list only the things you're trying to avoid, and to leave out the things you know you will get to that day. It's a great way to move the hard stuff out of your mind and on to paper, and to treat them as any other to do. 

Keri Smith's The Line

The Line looks like a little notepad (5X8") and it is by one of my favorite creative people, Keri Smith, author of the best selling, Wreck This Journal. 

The Line starts with a simple command, "find a pencil" and guides your pencil through the pages with clever and fun prompts.  It invites you to follow your instinct and to keep the line moving playfully and meditatively from one page to the next. It is a beautiful little "guide to clearing negative chatter in your head".


I am taking it on my upcoming New York- Istanbul flight.

Moleskine Notebooks

Moleskine are those notebooks you can find anywhere, from airports to bookstores. They come in all sizes, with lines, grids or blank. The distinguishing mark is their elastic band, which I always think as the band that keeps my ideas together nice and snug. 

Called tools for creative nomads, these notebooks are my constant travel companion. I don't leave home without them and when occasionally I do, I feel lost. Versatile, they can hold your notes, sketches, lists. They're precious in that they're well-made, but not so precious that you can't use them or make a mess in them. Different from the other tools listed above, it is a blank page ready to receive your new ideas. 

If you haven't seen them, Moleskine has a special accordion version called the Japanese Album which opens up to a long beautiful white expanse of paper and then is folded back into a small notebook size. Something to try in the new year.

This article first appeared on on December 1, 2017