ideas-blog

In creative brainstorming, we say no idea is a bad idea. Every idea came from somewhere and deserves consideration.

James Webb Young, a copywriter of renown in the early years of advertising, devised a practice for generating ideas. In the 1940s, he wrote it all down for others in advertising. Eventually his wisdom became a published book called, “A Technique for Producing Ideas.”

Here’s an overview of his process:

  1. Gather “raw material.” This includes anything specific to the project or challenge at hand, as well as general knowledge.
  2. Think hard about the problem. Try various combinations of the elements to create a workable solution. Young said you need to “feel your way” though each bit of knowledge that you gathered. He advised working yourself “to a standstill,” meaning keep at it until you believe you have exhausted every option.
  3. Allow everything to incubate. Take a break and let your unconscious mind go to work. Young suggests that you turn your attention to “whatever stimulates your imagination and emotions.” Neuroscientists have conducted research that shows the brain is hard at work in the time right before an insight or idea comes to light.
  4. Welcome the “Eureka!” moment. The perfect idea, the right answer, the ideal solution comes to you, as if from nowhere. But in reality, you had been thinking about it on some level all along.
  5. Develop the idea further and let it take flight. Test, edit and polish it.

In Young’s view, the most important principle in his little book (it’s just 48 pages) is this: “An idea is nothing more, nor less, than a new combination of old elements.” We think that this charming perspective has never grown old.

More information: http://techniqueforproducingideas.com