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Where to find ideas

3 min, 30 sec read
11:15 AM | 19 October 2016
by Ricky Richards
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Ideas are everywhere, but most people agree that ‘great ideas’ are fairly elusive. They jump out at us at random moments, while walking, showering or in the midst of a dream. Often waking us from our slumbers and tasking us with casting a written net, before they disappear into the realm of long forgotten concepts.

This is just one of many challenges ideas face to get out in the world, they’re the warriors of the mind. Constantly battling self-doubt, the fear of humiliation, the lack of funds or the missing piece of the puzzle. There’s no doubt that great ideas exist, but catching them and letting them free, is harder than we think.

"Ideas are an amalgamation of all the data we input into our brains."

Our tools for capturing ideas are as primitive as they’ve ever been, but where we go to capture them, is forever evolving.

For the most part, ideas are an amalgamation of all the data we input into our brains. From cat videos and twerking girls to Game of Thrones and pug monkey babies. These inputs tumble around our brains like the balls in a lottery draw, yearning to roll out our skulls in a jackpot formation.

It’s my belief, that much like the lottery, very few of us stand a chance of creating a winning combination. But unlike the lottery, I don’t believe this is down to chance.

"Great ideas are not only warriors, but also jesters; they delight us."

Great ideas are not only warriors, but also jesters; they delight us primarily through novelty, showing us something we’ve not seen before. Despite the obvious fact that ideas are just a unification of old ideas, they appear unique; disguised in a cloak of originality.

If we believe this to be true, then the secret to discovering great ideas is to go in search of unturned stones, to find ingredients that others have yet to add to the mixing pot.

In the Internet era, it’s increasingly common for popular culture to fill the skies of our minds, and drench our brains with the muddy waters of well-trodden paths. Popular culture, by its very nature, has been seen by many and therefore offers little reward for those who use these sources, as inspiration in a quest for originality.

"If we wish to capture more great ideas, we must become treasure hunters."

The answer then is simple. If we wish to capture more great ideas, we must become treasure hunters. Diving deep to the depths of the inspiration ocean, where very few have ventured.

These depths are abundant, in the history of our existence, old forms of passing information, moving images that elude our mother tongues, and the artistic expressions of unseen lands.

If you seek a map to great ideas, it can’t be found on Google. And it won’t land on your Facebook feed. And it certainly won’t appear in your email inbox. It’s at the back of the sofa, in the small print, at the bottom of the pile and behind the wallpaper. If you wish to get a ticket to popular culture, you’d best bet is to buy a ticket from its Brother, unpopular culture.

"Get your inspiration from hard to reach sources, not popular culture."

Now before you rip your hair out listening to the deliberate whimsical nature of this article. I want to point out that I’ve done it deliberately, with the knowledge that it’s increasingly difficult, to have the patience, to digest anything that requires even the slightest effort to understand. But for those of you have come this far, I’ll give you the tweetable version…

Great ideas come by combining unique insights. So seek to be original. Get your inspiration from hard to reach sources, not popular culture. And in the long run, you’ll stand a much better chance of having unique and more innovative ideas.



This weekend, Sat Oct 22nd, Ricky will be running a bootcamp on this very subject. The bootcamp will help students, recent grads or junior pros kick-start a creative career with an intensive day of inspiration and idea generation. Sign up here.

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