How Travel Inspires Creativity

My Harry Rosen Story

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In 2009, I had the privilege of having a one-on-one meeting with Harry Rosen. Mr. Rosen is the founder and executive chairman of the Canadian luxury men’s wear store Harry Rosen Inc., which in 2015 was Canada’s largest upscale menswear retailer. Furthermore, Harry Rosen Inc. accounted for 40% of the Canadian market in high-end menswear in 2008 and currently has 18 stores across Canada.

I was introduced to Mr. Rosen at an event held at my business school and I was eager to connect with him. Since I had recently launched a business in the clothing space, his advice and guidance would be monumental for me at the early stages of the business.

Being able to get that meeting at this point in my young entrepreneurial life was extremely significant.

In his mid-80’s, his advice during our meeting was short, simple, genius and elegant. Everything he said was very well thought out. However, one particular piece of advice has stuck with me to this day and it had to do with travel, creativity and innovation. When I asked where he finds inspiration on how to grow his business, in regards to trends, which products to bring to his stores and how to ensure his retail stores never lack creativity, his answer was simply, “I travel”. He went on to say that by travelling the world and walking the streets, he was able to absorb inspiration from environments, trends and things that were different from the usual. This was the main source for innovation within his retail stores that offered newer/different products, creative retail customer experiences and ultimately led to business growth. I couldn’t help but think how unique his perspective on this was, especially back in 2009. Travelling inspired by Instagram and working remotely is a hot topic nowadays, but 9 years ago was the first time that I heard this to be a source for business innovation and personal growth. It was simple, getting outside of your comfort zone and away from what you are used to gets the creative juices flowing, which is great for both your personal and business life.

Traveling gets the creative juices flowing.

Fast forward to present day while creating this article, I came across this Facebook post by Simon Sinek:

“Creativity comes from curiosity. The more curious you are about the world, the more you experience and learn. The more you experience and learn, the more connections your brain is able to make. And with more connections, you can find new solutions to problems or see things no one else can see.

How many of your best ideas happen driving to work or standing in the shower? Or watching a movie or reading a book that has nothing to do with the problem you just solved? The fact is, our brains are processing vastly more information than we’re even aware of. And sometimes it’s making connections between things we weren’t even looking for at the time”.

Creativity comes from curiosity and travel inspires curiosity.

In regards to leadership, Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, recently delivered a commencement speech to New York University’s class of 2018, in which he outlined his vision of the leadership skills that help make the world a better place – here is a summary:

1. Be someone who listens to others and avoids living in a bubble

2. Be someone who makes friends with those who are different than you (culture, religion, language, geography)

3. Bring people together

The three statements mentioned above are all about embracing diversity and acknowledging that our differences are our strengths – real leaders see the value. Travel allows you to achieve these 3 statements, and allows you to physically and mentally get away from what you are used to and see things from another perspective that can strengthen you, your business and get your creative juices flowing.

Lastly, I reached out to BizON users and my network of entrepreneurs to see what they thought about travel and the benefits it has on one’s life and business – here are some of the responses I received:

It’s great to see what others think about travel and the general consensus is obvious. By travelling you expose yourself to new experiences that make you ask questions that help you identify new opportunities and/or ideas, new things that help you grow as an individual, and new things that you can bring to your business. These new things lead to innovation because you are now thinking differently than before, and thinking ‘different’ is powerful.

Travel and stay curious – it’s good for you and your business!

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