Usually, I will get most of my ideas while out walking, exercising or showering. Generally not in front of my laptop. Great ideas. Sometimes fabulous ideas. Mostly terrible ideas.
After repeating the idea over and over again in my head so I don’t forget before I write it down, that’s exactly what happens: I forget.
How many times did this happen to you?
Creativity is linked to coming up with ideas. A hot topic. It’s a buzzword. Like innovation. We need more creativity, everyone says. And it’s true. We need more.
Question: Do we really need to come up with more ideas? Or is about capturing, collecting and valuing what we already come up with?
Probably a bit of both.
But sequence is key to make it easy for ourselves — Start with the latter, which will lead to the first.
How? By following three simple steps: Noticing, Capturing, and Generating.
Noticing: Time has come to pay attention
It starts with noticing what’s happening around us. Paying more attention.
In the beginning this is hard. Being distracted is addictive. 75 percent of Americans use their smartphone while in the bathroom. And in a coffee shop, you’re a freak if you just drink coffee without gazing into a screen.
With every new habit, the key is to start small. Try this: Next time you’re waiting for someone or something, don’t check email, WhatsApp or Facebook. Take a look around instead.
What do you see? What catches your attention? What do you like? What do you dislike? A logo? Someone’s shirt? Something unusual? Funny? Weird?
Got something? Ok, on to the next step. Capturing what you’ve noticed.
Capturing: The importance of having a ‘system’
Back to the example in the introduction: We lose a lot of ideas we come up with, because we don’t capture them.
Solution: Have a system to capture your ideas. Keep this simple. I usually have a pen and a 3 times folded A4 sized paper in my pocket, and write it down. Immediately. If you’re the more digital kind of person, use an app like Evernote. More visually orientated? Trello is worth considering.
Important sidenote: Every idea is worth capturing. As said before, I capture a lot of worthless ideas. Why? Because it helps to generate more ideas.
Generating: Training the creativity muscle
James Altucher, believes creativity is like a muscle. You can train it. By coming up with 10 ideas every day. By noticing what’s happening around me and having the discipline to capture my ideas, I easily hit that number.
The good part, everyone has over 10 ideas a day. But we’re to busy being distracted.
As Seth Godin famously says: “The goal isn’t to come up with a lot of good ideas. The goal is to come up with lots of bad ideas. Because then, eventually there will be some good ones.”
By getting into the habit of noticing and capturing, you will automatically start generating more ideas. It’s so simple, it’s almost unfair.
Solving the creativity problem: One step at a time
So, more creativity right? Without saying I’m a creative genius, this are the three ridiculously easy steps that work for me.
Notice, capture and generate.
It’s all about the sequence of how to approach creativity. And maybe, just maybe, this will solve our creativity problem, one step at a time.
All the best,
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