How to Be More Creative by Changing Your Surroundings

In Chapter 5 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami answers "How Has Changing Your Surroundings Made You More Creative?"  He notes how altering patterns and routines creates a more open-minded or curious mindset that fuels his creative thinking. 

Bijoy Goswami is a writer, teacher, and community leader based in Austin, Texas.  He develops learning models, including MRE, youPlusU, and Bootstrap, to help others live more meaningfully.  Previously, he co-founded Aviri Software after working at Trilogy Software.  Goswami graduated from Stanford University, where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and History. 


Erik Michielsen:  How has changing your surroundings made you more creative?

Bijoy Goswami:  You know, you get into patterns, right? So, when I'm in Austin I'm in my pattern. I mean, there’s a set of things that I do and I think Austin is a very creative place because there’s so much serendipity that happens both from things like South By and other festivals, Fuse Box and things like that happen through the year and they sort of immerse you into these different environments but otherwise with those happening you’re kind of on a particular pattern.

I think you start to get grooved in, you know, things start to solidify and you don’t really think outside the box but when things like South By happens, it’s really interesting because it’s actually an experience layered on to the same environment all of a sudden I'm in a different mode, you know, and so it’s a very interesting thing because you’re not going toward something you’re more open to receiving things. So, your mindset is very different. You’re saying, oh, what’s new? What’s interesting? You’re looking up and around rather than forward and ahead. So, I think that’s what that does, I mean, in Austin our festivals do that.

For me, it’s whenever I travel that’s what happens. I mean, you know, I go to London or go to UK or I was in Oslo last year, I mean, it’s just always interesting because – and it’s also funny because you see the similarities of what makes culture the same but you also see all these differences and you’re like, oh, that’s really interesting and I can see where that came from and the weather influenced this and, you know. So, I think it just jogs you out of your routine, which is really cool.