One of the great joys in life is the experience of discovery.

Whether it’s launching off on an untraveled bike trail or taking a chance on a Tuscan red on a wine shop’s discontinued shelf, discovering something new is quite an engaging experience. Often the best discoveries are accidental, or at least incidental.

Case in point: While on a business trip to L.A., I heard the most amazing guitar music in the taxi I took between appointments. The cabbie was kind enough to turn me on to Armik: an Iranian-born, L.A.-based, Spanish-influenced flamenco artist. Never in a million years would I have Googled or iTuned Iranian-born, L.A.-based Spanish-influenced flamenco music. Yet Armik’s “Malaga” is now one of my favorite CDs.

So much of creativity is about being open to discovery. Maybe it even requires deliberately moving into places and spaces that are unfamiliar. Something about discovery triggers the creative genes within each of us.

Much of creativity involves observing or discovering something in one context and applying it to another. It’s how Picasso in Tête de taureau could see a bronze casting of a bull’s skull and horns emerging from a bicycle saddle and handlebars. It’s how George de Mestral and his dog, returning form a hike covered with dried seed burrs, ultimately invented Velcro. (Actually, the dog’s contribution to the discovery is still a matter of some debate.)

The point is that the next big creative leap forward for your company may be right there, ready to be discovered. You just have to be paying attention.

David Heitman     www.thecreativealliance.comDH