The 180-Day Idea Machine Challenge is going well; I am learning to develop ideas to a variety of topics, and most of the time it takes me 30 minutes to come up with some ideas and 30 minutes to flesh them out a little bit more.
I thank you all for visiting so far!
Now this gets a little bit meta here. Coming up with 10 ideas per day is possible without a plan, but I wonder whether it might not be easier when we have a clear plan. Ze German that I am, I naturally salivate at the prospect of bringing some order to business! 😉
Honestly, if you are like me, you will come up with 2 – 3 ideas quickly, then #4 is already much harder, and the following 2 – 3 ideas are tough as nails – until it gets easy again. I think what ideas really are are expressions of certain streams in our subconscious minds. For example, when I introduced ways to improve our workouts, the first ideas were about making the workouts harder, then I was talking about better ways to track the exercises and concluded with ideas about our mindset. By and large three different topics.
Thus, I wonder whether you can’t leverage that notion to improve your mind and more efficiently generate new ideas.
You know what else is interesting to me? When I heard the topic “Ten ways to come up with more ideas” aka “Ten ways to improve your mental practise”, I first thought that was a hard topic to come up with ideas for. Too meta, a little wishy-washy. But when there is one thing I have learnt over the last years and decades, it really is this: don’t reject something just because it seems “too hard”.
The next time you are looking at an opportunity and thinking “it’s too hard” – that actually IS the opportunity. – MJ DeMarco
Embrace the difficulty, because under pressure you can come up with your best ideas.
#1 – Having a weekly overview and decide on one idea to put in motion.
I think this is immensely important. Otherwise, your ideas just remain bubbles up in the air.
Write down your ideas and review them once per week. From these ideas, chose one that you will at least try out for a couple of minutes.
You will automatically gravitate to the idea that appeals to you, and by executing it, you will realize the tweaks that you have to apply.
#2 – Dividing the 10 ideas up into 5 packages of 2
That way, you will be able to come up with the ideas faster.
You take a big topic and divide that into 5 subtopics, each with two ideas. Surely that’s easier than looking at one bulk of ten ideas, no?
What, then, about 3, 4 or 5 ideas per category, amounting to 25 in total? Or more? Some people write down seventy jokes per day. Seems definitely possible.
So, for today’s topic – how can I improve idea creation? – the five subcategories could be:
(a) ways to get more than 10 ideas;
(b) possibilities to integrate the 10 ideas into your live and make the list more actionable;
(c) being able to come up with ideas faster;
(d) finding more topics to write about and
#3 – Turning words or half-sentences into complete ideas.
Just search over the internet for random text passages. The same ways you can generate jokes from finishing newspaper headlines, the same way you could create an idea out of fragments.
#4 – Searching for key phrases like “I wish”, “I hate”, “I love” as topics.
Or listening to someone, identify the biggest problem he or she is facing and then solve that. Now your ideas have a real fundament in reality and are by design specific to a certain need or pain point.
#5 – Writing ideas as part of a “freewriting practice” in the morning.
That’s what I am doing every morning. A couple of minutes after waking up, your mind is still fresh and you give yourself the permission to come up with anything. You are not judging or censoring yourself.
#6 – Turn ideas you had the day before into new ideas.
That means you learn to distill the essence of the idea and apply it to a new topic. I believe this is one of the reasons that we sometimes get stuck thinking about ideas – and a few minutes later, several ideas emerge at once. Our brain, our subconscious searches for topics, digs through its subroutines, finds yesterday’s topics and repurposes the essence of those themes for new ideas the next day.
#7 – Imagine yourself in the future and in the past. Would your ideas be different?
How much does your environment impact your creativity?
For example, if I assume the year is 1935, and I want to gather ideas on different ways I can deliver books, I would probably come up with audiobooks, because the gramophone and radio had just been invented.
And I would have the idea that somebody could read books to a wide audience over the radio. I would not have had a clue about eBooks.
Maybe I could have the idea to deliver book chapters with the local newspaper to make more people buy and read them.
And then, fast forward to now, the idea could be that I send continuous stories in eMail newsletters. That would get more people to look forward to and open my eMail newsletters.
See how that works? Take away the present environment, and you can’t come up with the idea of “holographic books” or direct download of books into your mind anymore.
But what you can do indeed is come up with ways to utilize the current technology better.
Similar thoughts apply to the future. If you imagine you have holographic books, you could think about a device that measures your emotional state and then automatically choses the best chapters from the books you read to display them right in front of your eyes.
Or if there is a dangerous situation, a heads-up display could immediately screen survival tips and the most important emergency phone numbers from a book.
#8 – Imagine one of your ideas has been solved. How would the other ideas look like?
That would possibly turn on a whole new host of possibilities.
One aspect of a problem solved – are your other ideas now falling into place, would the way you look at them change, or would things stay as they were before?
#9 – Which ideas would you sell to someone else, and how?
First of all, this teases out which ideas are really important to you – and thus lets you select which idea you want to focus more on.
Second, it forces you to be pragmatic about the ideas you have. You can’t just sell the idea “time machine” to a business partner. You have to flesh it out a little better and at least mention the Flux capacitor. Or – nerd alert – if you want to sell someone the idea of beaming people from one point to another, you gotta include the Heisenberg Compensator.
#10 – Imagine yourself in somebody else’s skin.
What are the ideas your friend would come up with? This line of thinking would combine the daily mental practise with the daily spiritual or emotional practise.
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!
What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.
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Do you know another way on generating new ideas?
Have you tried out some of these ideas?
Let us know in the comments below!
(Pictures taken from Wikimedia Commons.)