“The best way to get a good idea is to get lots of ideas.”


-Linus Pauling



It’s Quantity,

Not Quality



Don’t wait until you have a “good” idea to have an idea

  • A lot of times you don’t even know it’s a good idea until it germinates
  • Sometimes ideas have a way of leading to other ideas that can be real winners
  • Just get your creative juices flowing and crank out as many ideas as possible
  • Creativity involves a different cognitive skill than organizing, just stick to creatively coming up with ideas
  • Don’t judge your ideas just yet, there is no such thing as a bad idea at this stage of the game
  • You don’t want to have just one idea to go with just like you wouldn’t want to have one potential partner to choose from
  • Having as many options and permutations of those options allows you to exercise the best choice

Get it off your mind

and on to paper

(or some other way to capture your thoughts)



Free up your RAM?

  • Imagine trying to keep all of your ideas in your head…
  • Your creative juices would get bogged down with just trying to memorize everything
  • Unburden yourself and write it all down
  • It can help you generate more ideas rather than have this internal resistance to have more ideas (which will just further burden your memory)
  • Also, you don’t want to waste energy thinking of the same idea over and over again; just get it off your mind and on to paper
  • Getting things off your mind helps you interact with your ideas
  • You may automatically be able to see connections between your desired outcome and where you are right now that weren’t apparent when it was all in your head

Mind mapping is a brainstorming technique

  • Started by Tony Buzan, a British researcher in brain functioning
  • it puts brainstorming in a graphic format
  • The goal is entered in the middle and then related ideas associated with that central goal are entered as offshoot branches from it (see below).

1. Don’t judge, challenge, evaluate, or criticize

  • You can use different perspectives to make sure you covered all the angles
    • Socratic Dialogue can help with this
    • Looking at things from a best case scenario, worst case scenario can help
    • Imagining the ideas that might arise to other people (given what you know about them) may shed light on new ideas
    • Motivation and inspiration help
    • Relaxation helps


2. Go for quantity,  not quality

  • This will help you develop context regarding what the possibilities are
  • It will help make you more confident in your choice
  • It may save you time and energy rather than heading down a less desirable path (i.e., that you never thought of before)


3. Put analysis and organization in the background

  • This will come after you get all of your ideas out of your head and written down

Allen, David. (2015). Getting things done : the art of stress-free productivity, 2nd Edition. New York :Viking

Last update: April 2021