Nine ways to create new ideas

How are ideas produced? Are some people blessed with a special kind of imagination? Do you consider yourself unlucky in this respect? Well, imagination is not an ability with which only the gifted are blessed. Anyone can think creatively. There is a method – a set of simple rules, techniques which lead to the production of ideas. Don’t believe us? Here are nine different ways which can help you in your creative journey:

1. Never tackle problems when you are fatigued

First and foremost, don’t attempt any creative work when you are tired. Henry Hazlitt, who wrote the book, Thinking as a Science, advised people not to try to think creatively when they are sleepy, unwell or tired. Take rest and deal with the work only with a fresh mind.

2. Be relaxed – that’s the mantra

In an article in Career & Courses, psychologist John Matthews, says, “Ever watched a great natural athlete in action? Even when he’s pivoting away from a tackle for that extra yardage – when he’s trying to clip another tenth of a second from that 100 yard stretch – when he’s lining up that final 25 foot putt, he is a study in relaxed coordination.” You can only give your best when your mind is at ease. That is why top performers in any form of activity/sports are considered to be masters of relaxation.

3. Don’t be stubborn. Be ready to change your approach

When one method fails, give it up and change your approach. You must be ready to try a great number of attempts before the right answer is found. No famous inventor has been able to find a solution of a problem in the first attempt itself. Edison, the Wright brothers, Ford, and several other famous ‘idea men’ are said to have described problem-solving as a ‘series of trials’. You must not be ready to shed your stubbornness.

4. Be curious

Did you know, Irving Langmuir kept playing with the gases for three years before he gave the world the tungsten lamp. He was curious to know what would happen if he introduced certain gases into the lamps.

Or do you know how Google started? For weeks, its founders downloaded the entire Web onto their computer. Many people thought it to be a crazy idea at that time.

Psychologists believe curiosity to be one of the great secrets of energy. Have you ever noticed that people seldom get tired of a subject that is of interest to them? You need to have an urge to discover new things, obtain answers to hows and whys.

5. Know your subject

You can develop new ideas only if you have enough knowledge of the matter in hand. “Your thinking power is high or low in just about the same proportion as your knowledge of, and interest in, the subject is great or small,” said Allan B. Chalfont, a thinker. He has laid down the following procedure for producing ideas:

  1. Get command of specific facts about the subject
  2. Get command of more facts
  3. Get command of still more facts about the subject

6. Fight for your ideas

If you believe in your idea, be ready to fight for it. King Gillette was laughed at when he introduced his safety razor, Gillette. He sold only 51 razors during the first two years. At that time, the idea was too radical. The men would say, “If the straight razor was good enough for my father, it is good enough for me.”

If you are confident that your idea is good, stay with it as long as you believe you are right.

7. Put your ideas into action

This is the most important step. Many people just think and never work on it. You might be surprised to know that there was a man who had discovered wireless 10 years before Marconi did? Even though he worked out the principle of radio, tested it, and conducted experiments for several years, he did nothing about it. And then came Marconi. He went through the same process of experiments and discoveries. But what differentiated the two men was the fact that Marconi also acted on his ideas. He put his invention to practical use. Result – the world got the radio, and Marconi USD 20,000,000 fortune.

8. Look for human needs

Dr Russell Conwell, in his famous lecture, ‘Acres of Diamonds,’ gave the following advice to his audience: “If you want to get rich, simply look for human needs and a way to satisfy them.” This is also the golden mantra of entrepreneurship. An invention has greater chances of success if it solves a problem. Walter Hunt invented safety pin in only three hours. That’s because he saw what others failed to see – the pain endured because of pin pricks.

9. Twist the old ideas

This is the era of remixes. Give an already existing idea/product a new twist, and something fresh will emerge. In piano keys, Christopher Sholes found his idea of typewriter. A chunk of rubber wallpaper cleaner was an inspiration behind the origin of an eraser at the end of a pencil. Train your eye to look for new twists/ angles in the ordinary things that we use every day.

With inputs from Career & Courses

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