Where do ideas come from?

“Where do ideas come from?” This is a question I get asked a LOT so I thought I’d start sharing a list of methods, tips, techniques, and resources to show you where ideas come to life. The best tip on how to come up with great ideas is to just start generating ideas, this includes bad ideas. I will update the list weekly so make sure to check back.

Where do ideas come from tip #16

Where ideas come from tip #19

You cannot come up with new ideas if you’re around the same people, environments, listening to the same music, reading the same books and doing the same things daily. For new ideas you need to create new experiences by being active, meet new people, travel (when you can) and always move forward. Everything that you’ll learn will be reflected in your ideas. So try to learn a little bit of everything instead of being a specialist in one area.

Where ideas come from tip #18

Create a problem. Help people discover problems they didn’t know existed, then provide a solution to the problem.

Where ideas come from tip #17

It’s important to observe and write about day-to-day experiences that others take for granted. Start recording how things look, taste, touch, smell and sound. 

Where ideas come from tip #16

David Lynch speaking about ideas.

Where ideas come from tip #15

Steal others’ ideas or a better way of looking at this is to build upon someone else’s idea. Take J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter. The fictional game of Quidditch has origins in the idea that witches ride broomsticks. She simply built on this idea. Albert Einstein once said “Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

Where ideas come from tip #14

Find great minds to bounce ideas off and talk out your idea. Meet someone new or network with a group of people if you don’t have anyone who’ll be helpful — choose your idea partner(s) carefully.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Where do ideas come from tip #13

  1. Step away from your phone
  2. Step away from your computer
  3. Find a quiet place for you to doodle, draw or write
  4. Let the pen flow
  5. Let your mind go
  6. Let the ideas grow 

Where ideas come from tip #12

Look at stuff completely unrelated to your problem. Get knee-deep in Netflix documentaries, go ax throwing, take an unusually long shower. Paint your shed. Anything but think about the problem. The solution will hit you when you least expect it too.

Where ideas come from tip #11

Why try to invent something new when you can use already test working ideas. Examine the ideas that have already been implemented. Think about the possibilities to develop and improve them.

Where ideas come from tip #10

Where ideas come from tip #9

10 creative approaches from a legendary founder of NYC’s Comedy Cellar, Golden Globe-winning writer, and 3x Emmy Award Nomine BILL GRUNDFEST

  1. Always ask yourself: who’s my audience?
  2. Always ask yourself: what’s my goal in creating this content?
  3. Always tell a story. Even if it’s a painting, a dance, a joke. Especially if it’s a joke.
  4. Be audience-centric. The story, even if its about you, is really about the person watching…you are just a proxy.
  5. Work from the inside out. If something bothers you, it probably bothers a lot of other people too. Tell that story. You’ll be viewed as a magically insightful (when it’s really just complaining.)
  6. Minimum viable product. i.e.: before you write a script, just write 5 log lines (or quick sketches, or whatever your MVP version is) and pitch them to 10 people. Then write a short story version. Then outline. Then script.
  7. Iterate at each step of #6.
  8. Take a shower. Many great ideas are found there.
  9.  Keep a note pad by your bed. Ideas not found in the shower are sometimes in your bed.
  10. Whenever you get that urge to create – ALWAYS create. Pull over to the side of the road if you must, stop eating, etc. That urge is the muse whispering it has a package for you. If you deny it, it will stop bringing you gifts. (If you never gave that urge, you are in the wrong business.)

Where do ideas come from tip #8

Creatingminds.com50 ‘tools’ for creative thinking with quick summaries, full, graphical examples, and unique rating system: Duration x Rationality x Participants

Where ideas come from tip #7

Analyse the world around you. When you are constantly thinking, you’ll spot opportunities. With enough opportunities, you will get many connected thoughts. With enough thoughts, you will encounter a few good ideas.

Where do ideas come from tip #6

Facing a problem? Ask your friends/family how they would find a solution to it. Don’t be afraid to share the problem.

Where do ideas come from tip #5

  1. Think about what you are thinking about, and then think about what you are not thinking about.
  2. When you are looking at something (or otherwise sensing), notice what is not there.
  3.  Watch people and notice what they do not do.
  4.  Make lists of things to remember that you normally forget.
  5.  In other words, deliberately and carefully think about what is absent.

Where do ideas come from tip #4

My creativity comes when I get out of my normal routine, take walks in nature, listen to inspiring podcasts, (My fave is Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller.), and formerly when I traveled. With everything turned upside down, and without normal social distractions, creativity has taken center stage in my life. I’m also a dog agility enthusiast and competitor. When you’re in the arena, life doesn’t exist outside of it. And, I’d often get very inspired, seemingly “out of the blue” ideas when I was away for the day competing”


Where do ideas come from tip #3

“To generate ideas I look at the calendar to see if there are any natural opportunities based on the season or activities, keep a running list of topics I get asked about by my clients and other business owners and note when I read or hear about something new I want to explore further, a trend, theme or idea that catches my attention. If it is an issue that affects me or my business then it is likely to be a topic that impacts others too. I also consume a lot of media both online and offline so my antenna is always up for new ideas and trends. I have several hobbies and am part of various groups that do not overlap so get exposed to different people regularly. I love asking questions and just learning from others to spark my creativity. I find keeping white space on my schedule is great to get the creative juices flowing too.”


Where do ideas come from tip #2

Where ideas come from tip #1

Every day, set out an idea quota within a period of roughly 30 minutes, where you do nothing but write down ideas about the topic that you have chosen. If it’s blog ideas, then write 50 ideas on blog titles within that time frame. Don’t worry about how bad the ideas seem. Just write them down.

Try to be as religious as you can with this. And do it for 14 days. Watch what happens.