Slow: Executives at Play

“Aha!” moments with toys and other neat tricks.   

People who understand the inner workings of the brain won’t be too surprised to learn that Hotel Avante in Mountain View stocks guest rooms with a Rubik’s Cube, Slinky, and Etch A Sketch. After all, to get really creative, you kind of have to act like a child.


Both Hotel Avante and Palo Alto’s The Epiphany Hotel are perfectly playful. The furniture in meeting rooms has wheels; fold-down tables flip open to reveal whiteboard tops; and decks let fresh air into what could otherwise be stale sessions. Guest rooms come with useful sticky notes and a G-link iPod docking station that lets you stream from your mobile device to the big screen.  

Accelerator Room at Epiphany Hotel
Tinder Box at Epiphany Hotel

Here are other tips to boost creativity:

Mellow out or rock on. Many of us have heard of the Mozart effect. Music can be energizing. It can also distract from ambient noise. Different genres of music are suitable for different tasks.

Down with routine? Not quite, but shake things up. Rearrange your surroundings. Wheels on furniture really are the best thing ever.

Forget the keyboard. Writing by hand can reawaken our creativity.

Relax. Rather than overthink a problem, loosen up. Maybe you’ll have your lightbulb moment, either in the shower or out.

Admire. Art can spur out-of-the-box thinking. We recommend The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose and the Robert Frank photography exhibit at Cantor Arts Center.

The Tech Museum of Innovation

Crack a book. Stanford University’s has come up with a brief reading list to start design thinking.

We believe in laughing, too.