I evolved this technique over a decade or so, but most of the refinement has come about in the last 18 months.
It’s pretty weird how we don’t get taught it in school actually. I'm sure loads of people work like this.
It’s almost like they don’t want us to be creative isn't it. Weird that.
This is the technique I use when faced with the constant challenge of creating ideas.
Too many people think they’re not creative, and that they don’t get good ideas.
I say that's rubbish.
They think that can't learn a simple technique to get consistently better ideas, more often.
But they can.
They just haven't to be bothered to work at it.
That's all it takes.
You weren’t born being able to drive or tie your shoelaces were you?
You had to learn.
You had to create a connection in your brain, or a series of connections more likely. And then strengthen them over time.
You can do that with any skill.
Being creative is no different.
So, this is what I do.
It was taught to me by one of my earliest design mentors.
I hope this helps you too.
First, and most importantly, you need to create some space
You need a designated time and space to work where you will undisturbed
SO NO DISTRACTIONS.
Switch your mobile and computer off.
Sit at a desk with nothing but a pen and paper.
Set yourself a target and a limit.
Whatever problem you are trying to solve you need to come up with at least 100 solutions.
Make sure you number them!
Give yourself a small window of opportunity. Something like 90 minutes.
So that's more than one idea per minute.
Even silly ideas count though, the point here is that you write and do not stop.
Putting pen to paper and engaging both your brain and your hands is the real secret.
Whatever you come up with, write it down.
It may seem stupid. It may BE stupid. But write it down anyway.
Usually it's the stupidest ideas that spawn the great ones.
It's crazy how the mind works. I don't think anybody will ever understand it fully.
Links begin to strengthen and form in the brain.
New connections between random but abstractly related topics spark into life.
At its core, that’s what a great idea is.
The reason this feels unnatural to most is that we’ve been conditioned from our school days to be timid about sharing our ideas, so we don't get laughed at.
Nobody needs to see the notes you make. There's no wrong answers.
Write EVERYTHING that comes into your mind down on the page.
Persistence is everything. Trust me. And I know, it's frustrating at first and you may think boring at best. But you need to learn to embrace boredom.
This is when the mind is seeking 'play'.
When you play your imagination is on fire.
This means your brain is primed to be used as a creative tool.
And that's it. You need to seek out this state and then try to tackle the biggest problems you have.
Something amazing may come to you.
Trust me. It's a technique I use daily.
Before I do it though. I allow myself to sketch and doodle for 30 minutes or so. Just copying letters from old books. Or making up random shapes and other random nonsense.
I just want to get my brain into a connected state with my hands. I think there's something to do with entering 'craftsman mode'... The connection between brain and hands is powerful and allows us to bring our ideas into reality. Literally create something from nothing.
I'm fascinated by this.
In fact, at the end of my career I'd love to look back and say I worked towards becoming a craftsman.
If I don't reach it, so be it.
But I'm working at it.