How To Get Good Ideas On Demand

The simplest way to get good ideas on demand is not to actively go looking for them.

I have found over the years that one's best ideas come in the following ways:

1. Have a bath.

A nice warm bath is soothing. A shower is not; it perks you up.

You may find yourself dozing in the tub. You can't move about and you can't use electrical devices, for fear of destroying them, or yourself.

The mind wanders.

It will eventually wander to things your subconscious is concerned about. Could be good (how to get more customers) or bad (what Jenny Spiteful said all those years ago in the playground that caused all the other kids to laugh at you. Ha ha, Jenny ended up marrying Jock Knowall, got divorced and now lives on benefits. You win! Eh, wait ...)

Recall that Archimedes had his 'eureka' moment in the tub. So enthused was he that he ran through the streets, in the nip. Indeed, he had truly solved a tricky problem.

So can you. Without the public nudity.

2. Going for a walk in a pleasant landscape.

It should be a monotonous landscape. Not monotonous in the sense of being boring, but monotonous in the sense of not being too varied.

A walk in a town centre is too aggravating; there are too many hazards and too much advertising. It's a noisy, grating urban jungle!

A walk in a country lane or a sea shore is better. It's pleasant, the cerebellum can take over the physical duties of walking while the mind wanders.

You breathe in fresh air, gaze upon nature's bounty and realise that you can save £2k if you hire that other marketing company and get them to do something to a narrower brief.

Great success! Now to find a tea shop.

3. Having a nap.

Face it, you're staying up too late on the PC. Or watching a box set on a Tuesday night. It's the modern decadence.

Whereas your forebears stalked the foggy back streets of Victorian London in capes and top hats seeking intrigue and meat pies, the modern nightcrawler stays in and loons in front of a laptop. Caffeine and nerves get him through the week but on Saturday comes the crash.

He has a nap.

Now if he's really been pushing it he will sleep the sleep of the near-dead and wake up feeling groggy. If he's just had a pleasant lunch and feels merely sedated, he will lie awake half asleep, dreaming of Avalon, Byzantium or how to change the gearing ratio on number 3 production line quickly.

Aha! Saved himself £2.5k in costs and two weeks' downtime.

If the above fails ...

4. Seek other's ideas.

The advent of the internet means that somewhere out there some genius, nerd or happy little clam has the solution to your problem. So post it somewhere, offer money and wait.

The fishes rise to the bait. Various solutions are offered. Some are noise, some are puffery and one or two show promise. You can't know what you can't even conceive of, but someone else may have found the gold seam already.

Pay him the $20 and chortle all the way to the bank.

Even if you don't get the correct solution, you'll get enough ideas that will point to the correct solution.

Thank you, internet beavers!

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