I had a brilliant idea for a blog post. For this blog post actually. It was an idea that had a nice edge to it, an engaging hook in it and a wonderful overall feel.
- This post could’ve turned into a novel.
- It’s appeal would’ve been worldwide.
- It’s potential would translate well onto the silver screen.
Only trouble is… I can’t remember the elusive idea.
The Idea Environment
Ideation, the process of forming ideas, happens when we create an environment for idea generation.
So what is an environment for ideation to naturally happen? Think about your last energizing idea. It probably happened when you were doing something like…
-Taking a shower.
-Washing the dishes.
-Driving your car.
-Doing gardening work.
-Taking a walk or working out.
Why do ideas seem to come to us during those times? It’s simple: because we aren’t looking for them.
Ideas come from connections our subconscious and conscious make in tandem. To facilitate these connections, we mingle mundane and repetitive tasks such as those listed above to create optimal environments for the elusive idea to manifest.
In other words… do something repetitive and see what happens.
- Volunteer to do the dishes.
- Take a longer shower.
- Pull those weeds in the garden.
You just might experience your next great idea for your business, your writing, your invention or your investments.
There’s only one more step: getting that idea out of your mind before it disappears: catch it.
Capturing the Elusive Idea
[box options]Have you ever said “I’ll remember that idea!” Then what happened? Not five minutes later it’s completely gone. Forever.[/box]
I don’t know where that ‘yeah, you’ll remember it’ voice comes from, but we can’t listen to it–ever! It’s a liar, and though it might have good intentions, it always ends up disappointing us.
Ideators use a variety of tools to capture the elusive idea before it’s absorbed into the Bermuda triangle of idea death.
Some of my favorites…
- Use the voice recorder to quickly document memory-jogging snippets of your ideas.
- Evernote is a fantastic app that allows you to organize and share your ideas (my wife and I share an account and have several idea folders we both contribute to).
- Take a quick picture or record a video of something that’ll remind you of your idea.
- Moleskine pocket notebooks (affiliate link) are wonderful. I carried one of these around with me wherever I went when I spent three months in Africa. Indispensable when you don’t want to (or can’t) have electronics nearby.
- Paper plates. David Klein, inventor of Jelly Belly candies says that scraps of paper are too easily lost or left in pockets, emerging from washing machines as faded wads. Paper plates are harder to lose and difficult to stuff in pockets. “Plus,” he notes, “you can fling em.” Sounds fun to me.
- Tell your spouse your idea.
- Tell a friend your idea.
- Don’t be afraid or jealous that they’ll steal it (see my Ten Commandments for Creatives, paying attention to commandments 3 and 6).
Question: How do you generate and capture your ideas? Share a comment below to give us some other ideas.