There is merit in the article ‘Start with an Idea’ by Dan Pallotta on the Harvard Business Review of only pursuing something once the idea comes and letting the idea come to you organically, however there is a danger in accepting that ideas just come to us. Idea Engineering has a process called Idea Catalyst, which looks at ways to instigate the brain to think in a desired direction in order to produce great ideas. Reacting only to when you are inspired is less time consuming and in essence the most ideal place to be, but what happens when that doesn’t happen, or if you are a creative director and you need ideas on demand? Idea Catalyst is like giving your brain a jolt when its batteries are dead. So how does it work? This is where the neurological studies of Idea Engineering come in. We know that when the brain establishes patterns, brain activity is reduced and thus unable to produce ideas. If you are feeling cluttered, frustrated or depressed, the brain cannot think clearly. The other common problem is fatigue. In other words you may be full of tons of random thoughts, but you are unable to extract one clear idea.
Five things that you can do to jolt your brain into creating Ideas
1. Break away from your usual environment. Go to a park, beach, café- anywhere but your usual workspace. This will break up patterns set in your mind and give your brain some new neurological connections.
2. Play stimulating music in the background while you work. This is great for raising your dopamine levels.
3. Look at things from a different angle- literally turn all your usual conceptions around by disorienting your workspace, and start to imagine possible scenarios.
4. Learn something new which is unrelated to your field: a language, sport etc. This will help distract your brain and give it a break from your workload. When Dan Pallotta talks about how John Denver found the lyrics for his biggest hit while skiing, this is why it happened. The brain is relaxed and not fatigued with idle thoughts, so bang- inspiration hits.
5. Observe, observe, observe. There is inspiration everywhere- just hone in to the general area that you would like the idea to come from and begin to ask questions. For example, if you want to write a business book that stands out, start observing the ways people are doing business. Look into business incubators, coworking spaces, even cafés. Ask questions like, ‘do they have different needs? What is it like to be an entrepreneurs now vs. five years ago? Are there new trends?’ Etc.
We believe in the plasticity of the brain and its great potential to churn out ideas. We as humans just have to learn to understand it and how it works, so we can become better creators of ideas.