During my days working a Crayola, when we needed new ideas, we gathered creative minds in a room, gave them a goal and parameters, and spent hours brainstorming. The collective energy worked; we would attract hundreds of ideas, and a few of them would be cream-of-the-crop ideas.
But now I’m on my own, so gathering a dozen people to brainstorm isn’t all that feasible, and I bet many of you are in the same boat. So how can we capture some great new ideas on our own?
I’ve been noticing that I can’t approach a new idea head-on.
I suspect ideas are shy.
So I tiptoe in from the side, murmuring soft words of encouragement, or at least that’s how it feels. Practically, here’s how that looks. If I’m searching for a small idea, like the theme of my next blog post, and I find I’m stuck, I’ll take a walk. During that walk, I’ll let my mind wander; usually, somewhere between mid-way to the end of the walk, a tiny idea will whisper into my consciousness.
Remember, ideas are shy, and they tend to flee moments after they reveal themselves, so the instant I hear a whisper, I dictate it to my phone. Too many good ideas ran away when I didn’t capture them fast enough.
The same method works for more significant ideas, like a new keynote, major project, or a book, but these ideas tend to take longer to attract. (They might be shyer yet.) I’ll let my mind know it is time for a new idea, and then I’ll carry on with my life. It might take days, weeks, or months. All the while, I will think about needing a big idea every so often without dwelling on the big idea, and usually, eventually, it cautiously approaches.