I just finished doing an interview with Adrian Savage (www.slowleadership.com) about how freelancers and the self-employed can best stimulate their creativity. This is a great question, because my research shows that significant innovations always emerge from groups and from collaborative conversations. The risk is that, if you stay in your basement office all week long, you’ll never have those impromptu conversations that prompt so many sparks of insight–that’s one benefit to the 20th-century practice of going to work with other colleagues in a central office location. If you’re one of those people who spend a lot of time working alone–whether because you’re self-employed, or because your job requires a lot of focused time (computer programmers, technical writers) then you have to make that extra effort to create space for collaborative conversation. Make a point of going out to lunch–and not always with the same group of co-workers, either. Attend networking events and trade group meet-and-greets. You’ll never be able to re-create the spontaneous water cooler conversation of the office, but you can still create opportunities for group genius to flourish.