Thursday, March 17, 2011

More Ideas!

At his sixtieth birthday celebration, Nobel prize winning chemist Linus Pauling was asked by a student, “Doctor Pauling, how does one go about having good ideas?”  He replied, “You have a lot of ideas and throw away the bad ones.”

In his book Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly has these suggestions for generating ideas.  First, produce as many ideas as possible.  Focus on quantity, you can be critical later and edit for quality. Second, have as many different ideas as possible.  Quantity is important, but try to generate a  wide variety of options.  Finally, try to produce unlikely ideas. Go beyond the obvious and simple approaches.

One of my favorite techniques is to consider ideas that would be great if there were no constraints. What if money were no object?  What if you could break the laws of physics?  What if there were no processing or uploading delays?  What if you turned it upside down?  Or inside out?

What great ideas have you considered lately?