Idea Incubator 15: Solitary Brainstorms


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glass collection of Liane Sebastian
Ideas are everywhere. Inspiration is not. Insatiable curiosity breeds ingredients. To make those synaptic connections that lead to ‘aha’ moments is a discipline that all creative thinkers demonstrate. Jill Sebastian, artist, educator, and my sister, teaches creativity, enabling her to study various approaches. She is a master at finding synaptic connections:

“Solutions are creative when the process to arrive at them blends common ingredients in unexpected ways. Exercising creativity regularly becomes a habit.”
—Jill Sebastian, contributor to Women who Win at Work

To assemble as a regular process, momentum is launched with brainstorming.

What is the best way to develop creative processes to reveal which ideas are worth pursuing?
First, name your creative challenge.

Creative pursuits begin as solitary pursuits: concentrating on solutions to defined parameters. Contemplating after research and homework uses subliminal as much as conscious thinking. The process of marinating rolls factors around in the back of the mind to surface as ideas, often in odd places and times. To facilitate this marination process, try this approach:

• Use stream-of-conciousness. How many ideas (without editing) can you think of to answer your creative challenge? Keep note-paper handy when in the shower or traveling, etc.
Collect ideas without looking back until you have at least three. Keep them in a drawer and forget about each for now.

• Compile. After as much time as you can afford, open the idea drawer, lay all the pieces out, and combine as many as possible.

• Polish. Cull three solutions from your new idea salad that have the shortest development time.

• Ask for reactions. Who can you show ideas to? How do they react? Compare each piecesof advice with your objective. Which is the strongest, most useful? What would you like to change? Revise until your priorities are perceived by your intended audience.

Every morning, my most creative time of day, is like having fresh eyes. Ideas may not come to me on command (some of my best happen when riding the el or sitting in the library). But the connections come together every morning as a predictable anchor for the day.

The habit of creative thinking thrives on variety, isolation, and momentum. When in the habit of discovery, the mind is triggered to follw a brainsotrming approach.

See the developing series of Idea Incubators.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer


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One Response to “Idea Incubator 15: Solitary Brainstorms”

  1. Idea Incubator 24: Emotions as Creative Guideposts « Wisdomofwork's Blog Says:

    […] and knowing which are worth pursuing involve different levels of the creative process. #15: “Solitary Brainstorms” Discover meaningful ideas. Brainstorming begins with a solitary exploration. #16: “The […]

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