It’s April and with that comes spring, traditionally associated with new beginnings. In spring, plants begin their cycle of growth after a winter of dormancy and animals end their months-long hibernation.                                                                                                 

With everyone doing more with fewer resources these days, it’s not likely that your workload experienced that same winter lull. But with spring comes the opportunity to find new, innovative solutions and resources to help you churn through it all and, hopefully, provide some sense of renewal as you do so.

Below are some ideas you might want to explore to get your brain synapsing in new and different ways.

  • Plan a visit to one of the many healthcare, technology, or building innovation centers that continue to pop up in our industry. They’re sprinkled throughout the country and focus on finding and testing innovative new solutions and improved outcomes. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few over the years and always walked away not only with new ideas but with new questions to ask myself that challenge my perceived views. From Kaiser Permanente’s Garfield Innovation Center in Oakland, Calif., to the new WELL Living Lab in Rochester, Minn., the result of a collaboration between Delos and the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, you’re sure to find one in your section of the world.

  • Can’t easily jump on a plane or in a car for a multi-hour trip? Look no further than the TED app on your smart device or the TED channels on YouTube. TED Talks run the gamut from high-level concepts to in-the-trenches innovative solutions. Topics focus on technology, entertainment, and design (TED); so many of the presentations are directly translatable and almost all are thought provoking and entertaining. Many of our own industry experts have taken to the TED and TEDMED stages, so don’t be surprised to find some familiar names in the mix.

  • Crowdsourcing has continued to grow in popularity in more and more aspects of our lives. Harnessing the power of many helps to bring together a variety of skill sets and thought processes in hopes that many bits of disparate information will be shared in new ways for quicker and fresher solutions. One site to look at for inspiration in this area is OpenIDEO, a global community working together to design solutions for the world’s biggest challenges. Anyone can sign up or join a meetup in their area with other like-minded individuals. Or check out Quirky, a site geared to all aspects of invention. Whether you have an idea rumbling around in your head for a new healthcare design product or want to lend your design talents to someone else’s ideas, with more than 1 million members, this site brings together a wide variety of talents. 

  • There are a large number of free tools and inspiration available on the Web to help you get organized and ready for that new burst of inspiration sure to come. At The Center, we’ve been enjoying Asana, a project management tool that helps track projects, create to-do lists, and connect on the project with others inside or outside your company. There are others, too, from the complex organizational system Nirvana to the simple, interactive to-do list maker Remember the Milk.

  •  Last of all, if you’re looking for some new sources of inspiration, don’t forget your colleagues. Look for new ways to engage them. One idea I read about recently describes micro groups of friends or colleagues that get together on a regular basis to have discussions about singular questions. Participants find it’s a great way to quickly get past the surface “weather” talk and dive into meaty topics that help get creative juices flowing. Read about one person’s experience at

Whatever route you choose, I welcome hearing about your go-to places for innovation and inspiration and the great ideas that come from them.