Where do ideas come from?
It’s a good question as they seem to appear from nowhere. And that’s because they do.
Ideas are created when the spaces between thoughts and knowledge are filled up. It’ s the chemical snap of the synapse that sparks the neurons and closes a gap in human understanding.
So where do good ideas come from?
Of course you to be able to answer that in a way that would be meaningful you need more criteria about what makes up a good idea. What’s the problem you need to solve? What are your constraints? What does success look like? But I’m not to go into all of that now.
Most people when faced with a problem will avoid it. They look for ways around it, ways that don’t solve or remove the original problem. This approach may throw up some interesting ideas in the same way that a brainstorming session where you get a bunch of people in a room and challenge them to think on their feet will. The ideas will probably get you around the problem but more often will need more thinking applied to them to make the workable.
While we’re here I’d like to mention that there are many techniques available for improving the quality of brainstorming sessions and I strongly recommend that everyone look into these (I might even throw a few up myself in the near future).
Back to the question; where do good ideas come from? Good ideas come from the gaps being filled in with knowledge on either side. This way lies thoughtless innovation.
The human brain (and possibly the dog one, I’m not sure) is really really good at making leaps and solving puzzles. To solve problems well you need to make sure that the knowledge it has to work with is good and that there is lots of it. Gather as much information from as many different perspectives as possible in a short amount of time. Lose your self in it. Read as much as you can as fast as you can and then read more. If you know experts (those who deal with the problem area most often) ask them to explain it you quickly.
Then forget it all.
Go out to dinner. See a movie. Go to a game. Whatever you like. Just make sure you don’t think about the problem at all. If your mind tries to bring it to your attention let it go for now. Just think “I’ll get to that later”.
That night, after you’ve brushed your teeth because there is no excuse for bad dental hygiene, make sure that you have a pen and some paper by the side of your bed. A little recording device would be great if you have one.
You’ll be amazed at the ideas your brain will have come up with.