Issue 14 of The Science of Creativity
We are getting close to the end of the course which means that we should be ready to recap and reflect. If there is one thing you should remember, it is this:
"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas"
I'm not quoting myself here but the Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, an American chemist and peace activist who has received both the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the Nobel Peace Prize. Pauling summarizes decades of research on creative teams in that single quote. If there is one thing that's common for people and teams who generate groundbreaking ideas, it's the fact that they generate a lot of ideas, and they are not afraid of putting them out there. Sure, a lot of ideas means a lot of bad ideas as well, but as we have noted you shouldn't be afraid of sharing even the terrible ones with your team.
As a matter of fact, we are bad at evaluating our ideas. I once met an award-winning creative director who put it like this:
"Whenever I face a tough problem, I set out to write down at least 10 ideas. The first five are always the most obvious ones, after that the really crazy and far fetched ideas start to emerge. Surprisingly, most of the times those are the ideas we end up implementing."
To really focus on the quantity, I advise you to start setting a goal for the number ideas you and your team should generate when you start working on a problem. This ties nicely into what we said about brainwriting. Please revisit that lesson if you need to read up on that method.