creativity, ideas, how to come up with great ideas, creative ideas, creative thinking

We often fall into the trap of believing that a unique idea should be entirely our own. We sit in front of our blank screen or notebook, browsing our brains for worthy thoughts and finding nothing. Even if we spot a thought that seems interesting, we start wondering. Is it new? Is it different enough? Or are we just remembering something we read in the paper a couple of weeks ago?

This is not how the human brilliance is supposed to work. For thousands of years each generation has been building on the knowledge and experience of those before them. Next time you’re looking for a great idea for your work, home improvement or creative project, take advantage of something that’s already been created and add your own unique spin to it.

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Improve on someone else’s idea

If an idea already exists to address your challenge, have a look at it. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? How would you improve on it? If you don’t know, who could you ask?

Adapt an idea from another field

If there’s something you like in a different area than the one you’re working in, there’s probably a way to adapt it to solve your challenge. For example, you’re in the middle of a home improvement project and you see a photo of your friend’s kids playing in the park that catches your eye. Maybe, you could use the colour palette. Or, if it’s the smiles of the playing kids that attracted, you could use your own kids’ photos for your project. Or you may be looking at the interesting angle the playground equipment makes – how can you use it in your interior design?

Combine two (or more) ideas

You can create something new by taking the best features from several different ideas (related or unrelated) and dropping all the features that you don’t like.

Brainstorm with others

I’ve been participating in a brainstorming project for my blog and I’m finding it fascinating how other people’s ideas can supercharge my own. Even when someone has no knowledge of your area or doesn’t understand what you’re asking and their response seems unrelated, it can send your thought into a completely new direction.

Collaborations with others can also help us realise that what we think is boring and mundane (because it’s something we’ve been thinking for a long time) is completely new and useful to someone else.

Great ideas are everywhere around us. Don’t be afraid to reach for them and use them as fuel to build your own.

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