Magazine article Management Today

Ways to Tap the Wealth of Ideas

Magazine article Management Today

Ways to Tap the Wealth of Ideas

Article excerpt

Brainstorms can just happen, but most inventive thinking results from hard work and practice plus having the confidence to see it through

Here's an idea for starters. Let's begin at the end. Let's begin with what happens when you've had a good idea or three, and seek acceptance. The most essential quality you'll need is confidence. Modesty and humility are charming characteristics, but when you need to convince other people your new idea is the greatest since sliced granary, forget 'em.

New ideas have to fight for their life. There is never any shortage of people who, either for personal reasons or because they have as much imagination as hibernating hedgehogs, are ready to strangle new ideas at birth. So, if you don't have confidence in your ideas - if you won't have the courage to fight for them - reading this article will be a waste of your time. You might as well go fiddle with some spreadsheets.

The more confident you are about your ideas, the more ideas you will have. It is as though the creative part of the brain, principally the right side, gets to learn that if it goes to the trouble of having ideas, you'll fight for them. Or it gets to learn that there is no point in working hard to have ideas, then seeing nothing come of them. For make no mistake - having good ideas is hard work.

Very occasionally good ideas come out of the blue, seemingly without effort. But that is very rare. As highly creative people throughout history have emphasised, creativity demands effort. Thomas Edison, one of the most inventive men of all time, famously said: 'Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.' When Sir Isaac Newton, probably the foremost creative mathematician, was asked how he made his great discoveries, he replied: 'By thinking about them.' He had been worrying about gravity for years before he saw the apple fall.

If you are ready to make the effort, and you have the confidence, here are some ideas that will make you better at having ideas:

1) How would someone else? Try to view a problem, the way a novelist would, through the eyes of other people. Choose people whom you know and respect. Imagine what they would feel, think and say, Often this will help you create an utterly new perspective.

2) Imagination activation. Think of a commonplace, simple object - a matchstick, say, or a paper clip - and then invent, in 10 minutes, as many uses for it as you can, which are not wholly unrealistic. It's best to play this competitively with colleagues, which really gets the inventive juices flowing. A fashionable variant is to invent unlikely new products for designer labels. …

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