Ideation Exercise for Creative Flow

15 minutes on the timer. Write down as many ideas as possible.

Rules: no rules. Even the ‘dumbest’ idea can eventually become amazing art or science.

  1. Make bubbles professionally.
  2. Eat only orange things.
  3. Grow something new.
  4. Climb a rock and write a poem on top of it.
  5. Spend a day living like a blind person.
  6. Grow a beard.
  7. Shave a beard.
  8. Shave your head.
  9. Shave the dog.
  10. Charge money for something you’d normally do for free.
  11. Do something for free you’d normally charge for.
  12. End a sentence with a preposition and be ok with it.
  13. Buy new shoes.
  14. Only buy used clothes for a year. Write about it in a blog. Then make a book out of it.
  15. Make a new word.
  16. My new word is a combo of ‘dreaming’ and ‘doing’ = dreamooing
  17. Have an internet-free weekend.
  18. Drink only water for a beverage. For 30 days. Then write about the experience.
  19. Write  a list of 101 ideas every day for a week.
  20. Compile the list and find the gold.
  21. Take the gold, refine it, and share it with the world.
  22. (six minutes have passed) Stop wearing a watch.
  23. Answer your phone in a different way than you normally would.
  24. Make lists. They’re great for ideation exercise.
  25. Exercise 5 minutes a day.
  26. Throw out anything you haven’t used in 3 years.
  27. Take a friend you haven’t seen in a while out to coffee.
  28. Buy a goat for a village in Africa.
  29. Travel overseas and write about it.
  30. Do a video blog about your favorite                                .
  31. Sing on the way to work.
  32. Sing on the way home from work.
  33. Sing at work?
  34. Paint a room in your house with a feather duster.
  35. Stop complaining.
  36. Be more thankful.
  37. Write down a list of 101 things you’re thankful for.
  38. Be ok with not being perfect.
  39. Smile at strangers.
  40. Dance when you get up in the morning.
  41. Enter a baking contest.
  42. Have a baking contest in your own home.
  43. Hold a raffle in your neighborhood.
  44. Clean our your e-mail inbox.
  45. Do nothing for 15 minutes. Just sit in silence.
  46. Learn a new word and use it at work today.
  47. My word for the day:  supercilious |ˌso͞opərˈsilēəs| behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others: a supercilious lady’s maid.
  48. Run a 5k.
  49. Walk a 5k.
  50. Sponsor someone to run/walk a 5k.
  51. Do stand-up comedy in your own home for your family. Everyone gets 5 minutes to ‘perform.

So that’s about 15 minutes of ideation exercise for me. Doing that actually makes me feel like I’ve had three cups of coffee and am ready to get this day chuggin’.

BONUS: some of those ideas are actually kinda cool.

In 2 minutes write your own ideation exercise list in the comments.


Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • Hike the Appalachian Trail
    Mow the yard,
    Landscape the yard
    Build an outbuilding
    Jump on a trampoline
    Run a marathon
    Run an ultra marathon
    Write a book
    Write another book
    Buy a lawnmower belt
    Write a blog post called Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance

  • 1 hug your spouse
    2 hug your kid(s)
    3 Cartwheels
    4 Leave work 5 minutes early it will make the commute easier
    5 Listen to music that is at least 30 years old

    Darn the phone is ringing. gotta go. That wasn’t 2 minutes…

  • Love it. Thanks for the challenge. No typing in “word” first, then copying and pasting. No spellcheck. Just 15 minutes and go! (Pardon the typos!)

    1. Stay calm.
    2. Look at the other person’s point of view
    3. read with both of my kids every day.
    4. avoid the news
    5. work on ebook
    6. stay calm.
    7. make cancer my bitch (think Ali vs. Frasier photo…Frasier on the ground, Ali flexing muscle, gritting teeth, looking down at Frasier on the canvas. It was Frasier in that photo, right?)
    8. Read a non-fiction book in the next two months.
    9. Teach my 4 year old how to hit the ball into the next yard.
    10. Be kind to neighbors behind us, particularly so they will give us the ball back.
    11. Stay calm. You’re not being calm.
    12. Learn a new task at work that I’ve been avoiding.
    13. Exercise more.
    14. Smile more.
    15. Get up earlier.
    16. Go to bed earlier.
    17. Clean the laundry room.
    18. Clean my desk.
    19. Finish the 4 books I started in the last 6 months.
    20. Count to ten before reacting to a negative response from a coworker.
    21. Pray more.
    22. Read Proverbs.
    23. Write down a blog post idea that deviates from the norm.
    24. Encourage someone.
    25. Get re-certified in CPR.
    26. Buy milk. Whole for the 2yr old, 2% for 4 year old.
    27. Borrow mayonaise from neighbor so Kathy can finish her recipe.
    28. Relax.
    29. Calm down.
    30. Make my wife laugh…
    31. take a shower (hopefully this is NOT when I make her laugh)
    32. Hug the crap out of both my boys, so if I die tomorrow, they have no doubt that their father loved the crap out of them.
    33. Do the dishes.
    34. Buy a cable to charge laptop for roadtrip, so the kids have some DVDs to watch.
    35. Map out trip to Nashville, NC, and back.
    36. Skype cousins so kids can say “hi”
    37. Figure out TweetAdder3
    38. Delete old emails.
    39. Stop looking at timer (4:19 left)
    40. Watch Modern Family with wife, hopefully kids are asleep by then.
    41. Write article for potential guest post.
    42. EDIT article for potential guest post.
    43. Download Dave Ramsey podcasts for the day.
    44. Figure out where to eat in Nashville with 2 kids.
    45. Figure out how to tell wife that Killer Tribes conference is 8 hours and that she is alone with both kids all day in Nashville.
    46. Figure out what to to make up for it.
    47. Celebrate job change…no more supervisor! Less stress, more money, more time with family!
    48. Write a blog post for tomorrow morning.
    49. Relax. Stay calm. (You’re not listening)
    50. Take a shower tonight, so I have an extra ten minutes to write blog post at 4:45am.
    51. Go to bed early.
    52. Skip Modern Family.
    53. Nah, watch it.
    54. Maybe catch “Restaurant Impossible” after.
    55. Change linens on kids’ beds.
    56. TRY to like the new Van Halen.
    57. Drink A LOT (in order to achieve #56)
    58. Find out why 2 year old is crying!

    • ***borrow*** mayonnaise? 🙂

    • Andrew Zahn

      Fantastic! I looked into Tweet Adder after reading your comment. Seems like a good but complex tool. Let me know what you think of it.

      And Modern Family was a rerun… but still good…