Spurring fresh ideas

Why Walk & Talk provides room for new thoughts not only during a pandemic

What a year was that which we have left behind us! And what a year will be this budding 2021? How will things go on? Anyway, I wish you a safe, happy, and successful new year – and I would like to start this new year with a fresh idea.

Those who move develop new ideas and insights literally step by step. They strengthen the cardiovascular system and, thus, also the mind. As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stated in 1889: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

This is confirmed by scientists of Stanford University who found out that movement improves the ability for what is called “divergent thinking”. This includes both quantitative and qualitative innovative thinking, which gives us unusual, even crazy ideas. Movement clearly boosts creativity. (Oppezzo, M. & Schwartz, D.L., 2014, Stanford University)

Another advantage of thinking while walking is the change of perspective that comes about automatically, step by step. Those who look at a problem from a different angle find new solutions and understand their counterparts better.

Step by step towards more creativity

This is why I like to use the concept of Walk & Talk in coaching. For Walk & Talk triggers creative processes that lead to new ideas. Scientists have proven that looking at things from unusual angles and new perspectives enhances a person’s mental flexibility. As research shows, people who had been walking tended to be much more creative than those who had been sitting.

Physical activities influence our perception. When walking, time and space disappear and we can let go of whatever is otherwise blocking us, make room for new thoughts, and release fresh energy.

In a nutshell, walking is a strategy easy to implement to generate unusual and novel ideas. A noteworthy side effect: in times of pandemic, there is probably no better Covid-19-compliant opportunity for coaching or staff talks than walking in the fresh air. It is, thus, the perfect time to take advantage of Walk & Talk! Give it a try – I’ll be happy to support you!


Source: Oppezzo, M. & Schwartz, D.L., Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking, Stanford University, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 2014, Vol. 40, No. 4, 1142–1152

Photo: ©Marion Pohl in Sumatra