Everyone is creative. This belief runs through everything we do at IDEO, and in 2013, it led my brother David and me to write a book that would help others—even those who don’t think of themselves as “creative types”—to unleash their creative potential. Creative Confidence has inspired thousands of people to adopt a creative mindset and apply it to the diverse real-world challenges they face. In this series, we’ll share some exercises from the book that can help you approach your challenges from a new perspective.
Anyone who studies dreams will tell you that if you want to remember your dreams, you need a dream journal right beside the bed. The moment you wake up—whether it’s the middle of the night or in the morning—you should capture those dreams before they fade away. The same holds true with your waking “dreams,” your partially or fully formed ideas, your glimpses of possible futures. If you want to maximize your creative output, don’t rely on short-term memory.
Even if you never get to experience Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame, you’re likely to have your own moments of brilliance once in a while. When that happens, make an effort to capture those ideas right away, because your short-team memory only holds a thought for fifteen to thirty seconds. One simple way to have more ideas in your arsenal is to start keeping track of them as they occur.
Tool: 15 Seconds of Brilliance
Participants: This is a solo activity
Time: 10 minutes per day
Supplies: Paper and pen, or a digital means of keeping notes
When you have an idea or observe something intriguing, take note of it. The actual means of capturing the idea doesn’t matter as much as having it with you at all times. Choose a method or a technology that fits with your lifestyle and your personality:
So increase your odds in the war against lost ideas. You’ll be amazed at how many good ideas you end up with when you make an effort to jot down those sudden moments of insight. Our brains are constantly making connections and associations with other people, things, and ideas we come in contact with. Don’t let those serendipitous insights go to waste.