Nash’s Note: This is week 7 of the guest post series, where Chip Autin writes a beginner’s guide to creating ideas. Even for someone like myself, who creates new ideas daily, I found value in this post. From explaining how our brain functions, to the thought of not judging our ideas, but instead, writing them down and building upon them—this three-step process will help you on your journey to creating.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
When I was in my late twenties, I owned two businesses that unfortunately both failed. As I entered into my thirties, I began deeply reflecting on where I went wrong. I began studying leadership and personal development as well as strategies used to develop and grow businesses. Everything I studied all had a very common trait. The greatest entrepreneurs, creative minds, and business leaders all formulated and mastered a process to generate ideas.
When it comes to our brains and the process of creating ideas, it is good to understand a little bit about how our brain functions. The left part of our brain is our conscious mind and is often referred to as our analytical left-brain. The right part of our brain is our subconscious mind and is often referred to as our creative right-brain. The analytical left-brain processes our ability to judge, think in words, and use logic. The creative right-brain processes our awareness, creative thinking, daydreaming, and intuition. Multiple studies have confirmed that our creative right-brain is 2 million times faster than our analytical left-brain.
If you’re looking to begin creating ideas, this simple three-step process will help you to begin generating ideas and put them into action.
Learning to turn off our analytical left-brain is essential in generating ideas. When we begin brainstorming, more often, our conscious mind will block our subconscious mind from doing its work. With time and practice, getting started with brainstorming can be very simple, and anyone can begin generating ideas.
First, you have to begin asking the right questions. As an example, we can look back to the early days of Henry Ford. While everyone was likely asking “How can I create faster horses?”, Ford was likely asking “How can I get people from Point A to Point B faster?” This simple method of asking essentially the same question but in a better-defined way is likely how Ford was able to generate his idea that would lead to the invention of the Model T.
After you have asked the right questions, you simply want to begin writing down everything that comes to mind. It is important that you do not judge, criticize, or talk yourself out of any thought you may think of. Regardless of how funny, crazy, lewd or outrageous the thought is, write it down. Once you have compiled an extensive list of ideas, begin connecting the thoughts together.
Now that you have all of these random thoughts and ideas written down, it is time to connect them. Your probability of creating a breakthrough idea increases through making connections of your thoughts and experiences. Our brains are always trying to find patterns and sense in everything. Knowing this, if you focus on two completely different concepts, at some point, the brain will build connections.
Next, looking at the list you just wrote, choose two unrelated ideas and begin generating as many combinations of the ideas as possible. Again, do not judge or criticize no matter how funny, crazy, lewd, or outrageous the thought is. Turn off that analytical left-brain and begin a new list of ideas from the combination you just created. Imagine one idea is a question that you would want solved, and the second object is a random item or idea. The more connections you make, the better chances you have at creating a successful idea.
You have finally found your idea. Hooray! The most tedious part of the process is complete. What will you do now? You must take action and bring the idea to life. It sounds easy, right? According to research by the University of Scranton, 92% of people who set new years goals never actually achieve them. That means 9 out of 10 people who set goals will likely never pursue their life’s dreams or take the steps in achieving personal success.
Taking action may not seem like it fits into the process of generating ideas, but why generate ideas if you have no intentions of actually bringing them to life? This step takes the most courage, but unfortunately, it is the one hurdle most people will never jump. If you have made it up to this point of creating your idea, don’t hesitate; begin taking the next steps to give your idea the life it deserves. There is no point in training for the competition if you never intend to compete.
These steps are a basic introduction to set you on a path of creating ideas. There is a whole slew of information available that lays out much more advanced designs and processes for generating ideas. If you’re looking to find more advanced methods for idea creation, I highly recommend the book “The Business Idea Factory: A World Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas” by Andrii Sedniev.
First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.