Where do great ideas come from?
During college, many of my professors lectured about the importance of having a great idea. But I was never told about how these ideas are formed, and where do great ideas come from.
I reflected upon this while on the quest towards finding that breakthrough concept for my stop motion challenge. I came to realize a lot about my thinking process and put together a list of 10 places where my ideas come from, and the things I do that help me find them.
- Concentration and focus
A great idea has a purpose, and brainstorming with focus is my key in finding it.
- Breaking out of my comfort zone
I put myself in different juxtapositions (taking on extra work and projects, attending eclectic events, staying informed)—a crucial aspect in keeping ideas fresh and creativity flowing.
- Hanging out with non-designers
As Karl Heiselman put it at AIGA Pivot in October, “Designers, don’t just hang out with other designers. Learn the language of business…” and great ideas will follow.
Feedback from experienced elders has helped me develop what I thought was a great idea, into an even better one.
- Not worrying about who gets the credit
I used to look for ideas online, in books, magazines, experts and everywhere else when in fact, the people around me had excellent ideas and solutions. When you are working in a collaborative environment and know that someone has found a better solution than you, accepting and knowing how to work with their idea can come a long way (and is also a great trait to have as a leader).
- Thinking for the next context
One way I check if my idea is worth a penny is by considering it in it’s next larger context. Think of it as a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment…
- Giving it time
When in doubt, I sleep on it, brainstorm some more, or try number 4.
- Creative exercises
As often as I can and most of the time without realizing, I question my own surroundings as well as everything and everyone I meet. I step back, let my mind imagine, jot ideas down and revisit them.
- Thinking EVERYWHERE
I keep a notebook and phone close by just in case I need to sketch or jot down any great idea popping up while I’m on vacation, on the metro, eating, brushing my teeth, working out, driving, snowboarding etc.
- Keep thinking
I was once told that the best ideas come later on in people’s careers. However, one great idea could change someone’s life. Until I find it, I will keep thinking and repeating all of the above.