We all likely have memories of boarding a yellow school bus with excitement and anticipation of getting out of the classroom and going to a museum, planetarium, zoo, farm or a play. It served as an enrichment experience and brought what we were learning in the class to light in a real world context.
As a working mother, I sign up to chaperone a field trip at least once a school year. It gives me the chance to see the world through the eyes of my children and thrills me to see the hands on learning and ah-ha moments for some children that didn’t quite grasp concepts back in the class on paper. A field trip gives them the opportunity to see things outside the bubble of their classroom in alignment with the curriculum.
So why not apply this to the workplace?
Innovative thinking isn’t likely going to be inspired in a cubicle. An important ah-ha moment or breakthrough idea is more likely to occur when out of the office observing a bee hive, walking the rows of a vineyard or visiting a science museum.
We should avoid the repeated pattern of attending conferences where we hear from and talk to the same players inside our industry. While industry-specific conferences are valuable, we should make a point to schedule at least one field trip, one conference that is outside our industry. We don’t need to board a bus with all our co-workers and head to a play. We need to seek opportunities that get us outside the workplace and enrich our learning and thinking. Time for a field trip.