A Technique For Producing Ideas


In this age of innovation, entrepreneurs can greatly benefit from the ability to generate ideas.

In fact, as per a recent survey by IBM, 1500 CEOs across 60 countries believe that creativity is going to be the most essential skill for navigating an increasingly complex world.

But, how does one generate creative ideas?

Well, idea generation is not so much about knowledge. Rather, it is about the following 2 things:

  1. Grasping the principles that underlies idea-generation
  2. Using a method (based on the above principle) that will aid idea-generation

The principles:

  1. An idea is a new combination of old elements
  2. The capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships between the old elements

The method:

In this post I don’t want to elaborate on the method. Why? Because, the reader must pause and first internalize the above-mentioned 2 core principles deeply. After having done so, you can read this blog post to know about the method.

An example:

Steve Jobs successfully combined 2 seemingly disparate fields of calligraphy and computers!

An inspiring quote:

“A Renaissance man is someone that can see trends and patterns and integrate what he knows. To me the modern Renaissance man is curious, interested in different things. You have to be willing to ‘waste time’ on things that are not directly relevant to your work because you are curious. But then you are able to, sometimes unconsciously, integrate them back into your work.”

– Orit Gadiesh, Bain’s famous chairman
Key Insight

Since idea-generation is about seeing relationships between old elements, creative people need to be willing to ‘waste time’ on things that are not directly relevant to their work!