Archimedes had the original ‘eureka’ moment in the bath – before running around the street naked shouting about it – whilst Newton’s came as he sat under a tree and was hit on the head by a falling apple. Today, a fifth of entrepreneurs (18 per cent) say they have their most important ‘eureka’ moments whilst sat in their cars – and deliberately hit the open road to help stimulate the creative juices.
Cadillac, the luxury carmaker, questioned over 500 UK entrepreneurs to find out the ideal conditions for creative thinking. Only 29 per cent of entrepreneurs say they think most creatively in the workplace, with over two thirds (71 per cent) coming up with their big ideas away from their desks.
67 per cent of entrepreneurs prefer to come up with their big ideas alone – rating solitude (27 per cent) and quiet (40 per cent) as the most important factors in stimulating ‘eureka’ moments - so it is no surprise 18 per cent of those questioned say they think most creatively in their cars. Other settings that fared well were in bed (17 per cent) and outdoors in the fresh air (9 per cent). 5 per cent of respondents said they have their most creative thoughts in the bathroom – either in the bath and shower or on the lavatory.
Where and when the UK thinks most creatively:
- In the office or workspace – 29 per cent
- In the car – 18 per cent
- In bed (falling asleep, waking up or dreaming) – 17 per cent
- Outdoors – 9 per cent
- Listening to music – 6 per cent
- In the bathroom – 5 per cent
- While exercising – 4 per cent
- While socialising with friends – 2 per cent
- While cooking – 2 per cent
- While watching TV – 2 per cent
* Other – 6 per cent
Steve Catlin from Cadillac comments:
“With solitude and quiet being voted the ideal conditions it’s no surprise that the car cabin is a breeding ground for creativity. We spend so much time in our cars – nearly an hour a day commuting – that we shouldn’t think of being stuck in traffic as a negative, but as an opportunity to discover your ‘eureka’ moments.”
Surprisingly a huge 90 per cent of entrepreneurs admit they actually find other people’s ideas restrictive to their own creative thinking with only one in ten (10 per cent) of respondents say they benefit from brainstorms and meetings with work colleagues.
95 per cent of UK entrepreneurs say other UK entrepreneurs inspire their creative thinking, with Sir Richard Branson and Sir Alan Sugar voted as the business leaders they most admire.
UK entrepreneurs’ top ten most admired business leaders:
- Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
- Sir Alan Sugar, founder of Amstrad Computers
- Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco
- Sir John Harvey-Jones, renowned industry trouble-shooter
- Peter Jones, serial entrepreneur and a dragon in BBC Dragon’s Den
- Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group
- Stuart Rose, CEO of Marks & Spencer
- Duncan Bannatyne, founder of Bannatyne’s gyms, serial entrepreneur and a dragon in BBC Dragon’s Den
- Sir James Dyson, inventor and vacuum cleaner pioneer
- Rupert Murdoch, global media executive and chairman of News Corporation
Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi, serial entrepreneur and an original ‘Dragon’ on Dragon’s Den comments:
“The trick to having good ideas is to let the imagination run away, it’s not a logical process but more like day dreaming. That’s why the car is an ideal environment for creative thinking as when you close the door you shut out distractions like emails and meetings, giving your brain the freedom to think through problems and come up with creative solutions.”