By April 27, 2013 10 Comments Read More →

How Can You Instantly Boost Your Creativity and Flow More Ideas?

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“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” — Dr. Linus Pauling

Thomas Edison used personal invention quotas: 1 minor invention every 10 days, and 1 major invention every 6 months.

Not bad.  But you can do better.  Just think of how much information is at your fingertips.

The key is not to focus on the quota.  Instead, you focus on asking better questions, such as, “What would be a better way to do this?”, or “What would Richard Branson do?”, etc.

Asking questions puts us in our most resourceful state.  Rather than whip your brain, you entice it.

The quota, then, is a by-product.   But it’s also feedback on your quantity and pace.  The pace you’re capable of might truly surprise you.

And, we get more of what we count, so count what counts.

But how do you debottleneck your mind to flow ideas so freely?

Try this:
Carry a little yellow sticky pad around with you, and when you get an idea, write it down.

Write your idea down in a simple way, and keep it to one idea per sticky note.

When you clear you mind, the open the flood gates to flow your own creative ideas, resourceful thinking, and creative insights.  This is the fodder of creative synthesis.

To give you some idea, when I first started doing this several years ago, I would end the week with a handful of ideas.  Within a month, I was filling up entire sticky pads each week, and eventually, filling up pads each day.

I never imagined that was even remotely possible.

When you have a steady stream of ideas, you can experiment more, let the bad ones go, and run with your game changers.

Start capturing your ideas, count what counts, and enjoy the flow.

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Image by NASA Goddard Photo and Video.

Posted in: Creativity, Innovation

10 Comments on "How Can You Instantly Boost Your Creativity and Flow More Ideas?"

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  1. Alik Levin says:

    I use your technique time to time and it proves to be amazingly effective. I just need to stick to those little stickies more. Thanks for the tip!

    • JD says:

      The thing I need to stick to is “one idea per sticky.” I have a tendency to want to fill up a sticky.

      When I stick to one idea per sticky, they’re easier to flip through, manage the entire set better, and do something with.

  2. Viv says:

    I totally agree on asking “Why” an idea needs to be pursued, instead of setting a number of things to achieve, as a starting point.
    Also, your suggestion on modeling a successful person is a great idea.

    • JD says:

      I need to track it down, but I remember seeing in a few sources that when we ask ourselves, “What would da Vinci do?” (or whoever), we think in ways we normally can’t, and can bring out our most resourceful self.

      I’ve use this practice to get unstuck and to find new ways of doing things, and I’m surprised how effective it is. It’s as if our brains by default are limited to solutions that match, “What would ‘I’ do?”, and this let’s us go out on a limb.

      • JD, I love this idea of reframing our perspective by asking how someone else would think through it. I’m going to start my list of people.

        • JD says:

          It’s surprisingly effective.

          That’s why it’s so helpful to have a bunch of role models and references at your finger tips — they can inspire new thinking.

  3. I love the sticky note idea. I always write down whatever creative ideas come to my mind and there seems to be an endless flow!

    • JD says:

      It sounds like you’ve built a good habit around flowing ideas and freeing your mind.

      Once I started to flow ideas more freely, I started to really feel the impact of windows of opportunity. I gained a new appreciation for missed opportunities, too, which helped remind me to act on more ideas.

  4. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. surprise – it’s me! Life really is about to start again and those ideas are bouncing around .. actually they’ve been quietly cogitating and will come to fruition during the year.

    I’m pleased I’ve taken my time … and ideas and creative thoughts seem to be abound – now is the time to learn some technologies that help me … I know you mentioned Evernote a year or more ago!! and I still need to get that under my belt … as well as other aspects in the learning curve.

    Cheers for now … Hilary

    • JD says:

      Welcome back!

      It’s great to always have a pool of ideas percolating in the background. You never know what’s going to pop.

      This is a great year for transformation. I think a lot of forces at play, are re-shaping both what’s possible and how things should be done.

      It’s a great chance to cut the dead-wood, and grow new branches.

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