Where do ideas come from?


It is a mystery

Have you ever wondered where creative and breakthrough ideas come from?

Edward de Bono created the idea of lateral thinking, which helps people solve problems through an indirect and creative approach. Lateral thinking has its place but I am actually not talking about this process here

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The types of ideas that I am talking about here include:

  • A new product or service to take to market.

  • A different type of marketing approach.

  • How to improve your business.

  • Sudden insight into an under performing employee.

  • A missing part of a story.

  • A chorus for the song you are writing.

  • The topic of the next blog or podcast.

Where do your ideas come from?

Not where you think

Surveys have been done asking people where they get their best ideas. Here are the top 10 answers found in an article “Where do you do your best thinking?” – www.fastcompany.com :

  1. When I’m alone

  2. Last thing at night/in bed

  3. In the shower

  4. First thing in the morning

  5. In the car /driving

  6. When I’m reading a book/newspaper/magazine

  7. In the bath

  8. Outside

  9. Anywhere

  10. When I’m jogging/running

Very interesting to me is that very few people said they did their best thinking at work or in the hussle and bustle of home life.

Where do you do your best thinking?

How to get the ideas you need

Where do ideas come from?

In the video above Shoo Rayner talks about how he gets his ideas for the children’s stories he writes and illustrates.

He says that he works on the outline for a story as much as he can and then almost always finds that there is a key piece missing. He is almost embarrassed when he explains his process. What he does is amazingly simple. He eats lunch, puts on his coat and goes for a walk. He says that he normally hasn’t walked for more than half a mile when the idea will come to him.

“You have to prepare your brain so that it is in tune with the idea that you need and then you let go and wait for the idea to find you” – Shoo Rayner.

Is this how you get your ideas?

Ideas coming in fragments

David Lynch: Where do ideas come from?

David Lynch, a world renown director, speaks about ideas in the short video above.

Here are few things he says in the video:

  • “We don’t do anything without an idea and so they are beautiful gifts”.

  • “Desiring an idea is like a bait on a hook and you can pull them in”.

  • “Ideas come more often than not in small fragments.It is like in the other room the puzzle is all together but they keep flipping in one piece at a time”.

David Lynch also talks about a prepared mind and then says that the ideas are caught.

Faith and trust

The process to get the idea you need seems to be incredibly simple.

  1. Prepare your brain by determining the challenge you have.

  2. Relax the brain, do something different, and the idea will come to you.

But there is a third very important step. You have to have faith in this almost mystical, mysterious process and take the idea seriously when it appears.

Have you done this before and how does it work for you?

My experience

Incredibly this works for me. Three times a week I go running in the morning, just 5 kms, and I listen to podcasts while I do this.

Almost always I come back from my run with an idea and if not then the idea occurs during the shower that follows.

Please share how you get your ideas

I would love it if you could share where you get your ideas.

“Introduction to Idea Management” eBook

I recently published an eBook that is available on Amazon.

If you would like to get an introduction to Idea Management, then this eBook is for you. It consists of short easy to read chapters covering every element of Idea Management. If you would like a deeper understanding of any topic, then at least three links at the end of each chapter are provided for further reading.

You can find a link to the book here.

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