Ideas may seem like strange things to collect but if you’re interested in creativity and innovation you’re probably subconsciously doing it already.
Somewhere in your brain (probably scattered about) you already have the memories of things that intrigued you. Remember all those times you’ve tried to recall a great idea and wanted to share or apply it and couldn’t recall where you saw or heard it.
I borrow an idea from the advertising world and it’s called a Swipe file. It’s a pretty simple idea – just write down the idea, the website name, the book name, or whatever and keep it so you can refer back to it. So do I have a messy pile of scrap paper and curled up Post It’s in the corner of my office? Yeah, sometimes, but I regularly sort them and put them in a folder.
I have a blank form that I transfer, staple, or stick the original notes to. I refer to my folder regularly and I’m always surprised how a solution manifests from the least likely connections.
So why should you collect ideas. Here are a few reasons that spring to mind, though I’m sure there are plenty more.
- It prompts you to think differently about the things you see and hear.
- It allows you to look at seemingly unrelated things and make a connection.
- It helps develops your sense of what is a good or useful idea.
- It allows you to see how your thinking “maturity” grows.
- It gives you a ready source of inspiration and problem solving triggers.
- It trains your thinking and creativity “muscles”.
- It can help you to spot trends.
- And, once you’ve recorded your idea it “releases that brain space” for something else.