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Getting Ideas – More like farming than hunting


My 15 year old son and 6 year old daughter are similar in personality. A big difference now seems to be creativity. My daughter is extremely creative, where as my son, although still creative, believes at times he has “no ideas”.

It’s believed that our school system chokes the creativity out of kids. Perhaps, but there are other factors that choke ideas.

One is the continuous rich ideas, art and creativity exhibited in games, movies, books and on the web. All this engages the brain, which leaves little room for the creative process.

I notice that my daughter spends time playing alone, talking to herself and making things. My son spends much of his leisure time playing computer games and watching YouTube.

According to the book “Ideas Generation”, there are 5 phases to the ideas process:

1. Prepare
You need to find stimulus materials and information to form ideas.

Memories are the fuel of the creativity engine. The information rich world we live in can be a help with this, although sometimes I wonder whether the written word may be better. I think media that you can consume at your own pace, with reflection and assimilation, may be more effective.

This can be real life, print, the web or multimedia.

Ideas favour a fertilized and prepared mind.

2. Construct
Build as many ideas as possible.

In this phase, it’s recommended that you write your ideas down, no matter how brief. It’s better to have 50 ideas, with only one that sound achievable, than only one idea. The more ideas you have the more good ideas you’re likely to come up with.

One way of developing “silly” ideas is to ask silly questions. For example, Philo T Farnsworth, the pioneer of television asked “What if pictures could be transmitted through the air?”.

Pretending, imagining the impossible, laughing, rearranging and approaching things from news angles are all ways of doing this.

Ideas in this phase are very delicate and should not be exposed to criticism, censure or “review”. Let em be.

3. Incubate
This is the phase where your ideas should be allowed to cook and simmer in your subconscious for a while.

Sleep on it.

4. Adjudicate
You evaluate your ideas to decide which are best. It should be obvious, once again criticism won’t be required.

Pick the best child for the job without tearing down the other children.

5. Act
You take the action on your best ideas and turn them into realities.

Much has been written on this, which is what success is all about.

Progress will be slow at first, but keep at it and you will get there.

What now? – “just start”!

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