The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas – Linus Pauling Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1954); Nobel Peace Prize (1962)
It seems like common sense when you think about. The more ideas you have, the better your chances of having good ideas become. It’s what I like to call “sticky jelly-baby” theory: throw enough handfuls of sticky-jelly babies at a fridge door and eventually one will stick.
And if you work in a create-on-demand environment, you know the pressure that comes from having as many (good) ideas as possible…
So how do you get more ideas? By emptying your head of all the other ideas you’ve already had and thus giving yourself more space for new ideas…
You can’t write anything new on a sheet of paper that’s already had every sliver of white space covered in blue ink. And if try to write over what you’ve already written, eventually you’re going to wind up with a scribbled mess (or a really good copy of a Jackson Pollock).
Keep a notebook and a reliable pen with you at all times – next to your bed, in your backpack… As soon as you get an idea, write it down, get it out of your head and don’t think about it again until you action it.
Oh OK…you’re allowed to revisit the idea…but only if you’re going to evolve it.
If you’re not evolving it or actioning it, the idea is done and it’s time to move on to new ideas. Over time, you’ll find your creativity kicking into high gear and generating new ideas will be as easy as breathing – plus you’ll have this tome of unused ideas that may suddenly become useful later on.
And don’t eat the green jellybabies. They just taste weird.