09 Apr Generating New Ideas in a Time of the Plague
If there ever was a time in our lifetimes when we needed new ideas, it is now. But when you need an idea, what kind of actions do you take to keep generating better ideas, to keep them coming? Especially when cortisol and adrenaline are washing through your system in bucketloads, limiting your very ability to synthesise concepts and to roam the landscape of your mind in search of such concepts in the first place?
Here are three suggestions I give clients, and — taking my own medicine — use myself when stuck for ideas: the right environment, the right level of concentration and the right amount of data and distraction. BV (Before Virus) it was relatively simple to find at least two out of the three. AV (yes, that’s what it means, After Virus) our ability to look for the right physical environments is, at least for a while, severely hampered. To keep those ideas coming, therefore, we need to consciously construct virtual environments which are actually conducive to creative thinking.
Given that in order to have a few good ideas you need to have many ideas, it is necessary to get into a mode of thinking has been best described as “open” — your mind is free to wonder, synapses are clicking and buzzing with connections — and stay there for extended periods. This is a “Goldilocks state” level of stimulus — not too much, not too little, just right, and that is highly individual.
For me a fundamental building block is music, and the choice depends on what I’m doing. If it’s conceptual work with research, concentration, writing, generally working with words, it’s ambient or instrumental jazz. If I’m doing layouts or working with visuals (form rather than text), it’s grunge or fusion and usually rather loud. This is just something I have noticed — and it works for me. It is also a rather excellent reason to explain having a CD library of over 2000 titles… and a pair of rather pricey studio quality Denon earphones. That’s my excuse. (My friend Paweł Szczęsny has been writing about this just recently, and so now I know that science is on my side.)
Sound, the aural environment, is often neglected, or at least overlooked when designing work spaces.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE in the Journal of Beautiful Business on Medium.